I am an architect, a business owner, entrepreneur, CEO, designer and more. If you are new to H-A-L-E.com and just discovering my digital platform than you will learn that I am also a woman. A woman that celebrates other women in all aspects of life, but especially in the creative world. Whether that be in architecture, design, fashion, or art - it has been my mission for the past two years to put the spotlight on women that are changing the creative game.
With that said, all the recent social movements have ignited important discussions that are very much in-sync with my own thoughts. When I decided to join the world of architecture over a decade ago, I knew that I was entering a "man's world." That truly does not need any clarification because if you are a female architect - you can completely understand the sexism that we frequently face.
This morning, I came across an open letter to all the men in the architecture field from the editor-in-chief of Architect Magazine, Ned Cramer. I was deeply moved by his words and praise his honesty and and willingness to make a change.
Here is Ned's piece along with a direct link to the full article. I encourage both men and women to read.
Out of deep respect for the women who every day must grapple with sexism in architecture, I’d like to use this space to specifically address the men of the profession.
Let’s be honest: The architecture profession still smells like a men’s club. We may not like to think so, but it’s a statistical fact. And can we admit that the burgeoning #MeToo movement makes many of us … uncomfortable? Ever since the Harvey Weinstein story broke last year, it felt as though we were holding our collective breath, waiting for architecture’s turn—for our turn—under the harsh light of truth.
The moment finally arrived on March 13, thanks to the five women who bravely went public with sexual-misconduct allegations against Richard Meier in The New York Times. I hope we, the men of architecture, will honor their courage by responding with open hearts and great humility.
To borrow a line from that great agitator Karl Marx, “man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” Where gender parity in architecture is concerned, brother, those conditions and relations aren’t good. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. For the full 5,000-year history of the discipline, men have excluded or belittled women by sheer weight of numbers, and we maintained the advantage through the domineering culture we created.
I, for one, can’t claim a guiltless conscience: I haven’t maintained a perfectly non-hormonal, bias-free level of professionalism at every turn of my career. Neurochemistry may be largely innate, but testosterone cannot govern our behavior. An imperfect nature doesn’t relieve any man of the obligation to treat women with fairness and respect, as the equals they are.
Never forget: Social equity remains one of the great moral struggles of our age. Numerous forces are bringing about unprecedented and sometimes acrimonious relations among the genders, not to mention among different cultures, races, and classes, and the architecture profession must do everything possible to smooth the way for everyone.
I don’t have all the answers. Neither do you. That’s not a cop-out. At this juncture, probably the best thing the men of architecture can do is shut up and give women the floor. If you’re uncomfortable about #MeToo and other social movements, that’s a good thing—accept it. Discomfort is precisely what men need to experience. We need to spend time sitting quietly with ears open, heeding our female peers and getting a taste of what they face daily: the feeling of being unwelcomed and disempowered. That would be one step toward true empathy, growing as individuals, and supporting the struggle for equity in architecture.
Thank you, Ned.