The architecture & design industry started celebrating female-led accomplishments while highlighting the stalwarts who are making their own terms -defining their notion of success- and sharing their visions and ideas. Though we are gradually progressing to a society where gender inequities are less prevalent in the professional space, the widespread silent impediments to women's leadership in architecture in a developing country like India are incomprehensible.
Integrating leadership of women into architecture & construction disciplines is not just about resolving the issue of filling up the gender gap but also about the impeccable future that women can shape and create in the built environment. However, in order for women to advance and to be recognized as valuable assets to the architectural world, they have to outshine within their organization, breaking all the barriers. In this article, Ar. Gagandeep Kapila, Founder and Principal Architect of Workshop for Metropolitan Architecture, emphasizes the significance of women's leadership in architecture in breaking the glass ceiling and building the world of tomorrow.
It is a known fact that architectural practice is multifaceted, requiring a diverse team to deliver a well-designed project fitting its original intent. The dynamics of team members need to reflect the diversity of the world addressing age, gender, and any other differences. Women are better at multitasking, and effortlessly handle the balance between their work and family. Therefore, they tend to easily empathize with the users, which allows them to consider different perspectives that just might go unnoticed by male architects. Although the world is predominantly designed by men, a majority of obvious design decisions and solutions can easily be sorted by women, or even a new edge could be brought in the picture. The architectural world would gain a rather refreshing outlook if it involved and inculcated inputs from both men and women, during the design process. The industry claims no differentiation in man versus woman leadership and strives towards an equitable professional world of architectural firms.
Women architects have been participating in the field in increasing numbers as designers, teachers, and researchers in contemporary times. Over the past decades, many women architects have opted to establish successful brands, while some found their esteemed places in governmental and municipal organizations. An increasing number of women architects, in the recent years, have started spearheading the industry not just as designers but as entrepreneurs, drawing a new balance between being a designer and someone with a business acumen. Working across a wide range of sectors, from academia and business to public interest and digital technology, architecture's female powerhouses are leading the way for the future of the built environment.
The architecture industry in 2023, has a critical responsibility to design for social impact and social advocacy for equity, inclusion, diversity & belonging ingrained in the built environment. Focusing on different design strategies such as integrating neuroscience in the built environments and devising methods to curate more independent and inclusive workspaces, is critical, as our world has been heading towards promoting a comprehensive, inclusive and motivating professional spaces.
Therefore, the inclusivity of women becomes a vital phenomenon in design and is instrumental in arriving at human-centric solutions through their leadership capacities. We, as architects, must collectively recognize women's leadership in architecture and work to ensure that the profession reflects an inclusive future. This means that architecture must authentically innovate to be relatable with society and to women as users and as leaders in architecture!