West Midlands to launch its first women in architecture group

The Royal institute of British Architects (RIBA) will today (July 5) launch the West Midlands’ first women in architecture group, which has been set up specifically to celebrate the role of females working in the industry.

The RIBA West Midlands branch will host its inaugural Women in Architecture event at the Birmingham REP Theatre, to welcome female architects and students to celebrate the opening, provide talks and presentations and engage over lunch in discussions about the profession.

Dozens of students and professionals from across the region are expected to attend the event, which will provide a springboard for the Women in Architecture group to carry out its activities. The group will meet quarterly with the aim of providing regular networking and support for those in the industry.

The idea for the group was formed after female architecture students at Birmingham City University became aware of the limited number of women working in the industry and found there was no active national or regional group set up to celebrate the contribution of women.

The students had been moved by a news article, which discussed the low numbers of women working in, or studying architecture beyond RIBA Part 1 and that this number fell dramatically up to and beyond RIBA Part 3 level, falling again in the workplace.

The students called on University academics for support in finding out how they could get involved and go about setting up support for female students in the industry.

Birmingham City University Programme Director for BA Architecture, chartered ARB architect and RIBA representative, Victoria Farrow began investigating on behalf of the students.

After discussions with professionals and the RIBA West Midlands she held talks that helped to trigger the formation of the group. Victoria hopes that in time, other regions across the UK will follow her lead and set up similar organisations in order to grow a larger network.

Victoria Farrow, who will be speaking at the event about her career and experiences, said:

“We know that at Undergraduate degree level there is a fairly even split of male and female students but once we look into the statistics for numbers of women students in post-graduate study and then again into architects in practice, we see the number of women drastically reduces.

“Our students were quite taken aback by the figures and were extremely proactive in wanting to see a group or organisation set up to really celebrate the women in our profession.

“The group will help to provide a place to go and see that there are opportunities for female architecture students and those who want to pursue a career in architecture. The group will also start to help identify initial role models in the West Midlands and go on to spotlight the fact that there are already many successful female architects, not just in our region, but across the country. We hope this will be an inspiring and empowering event.”

During the event successful industry figures including Alison McKerracher, Vimi Solanki-Gohil, Alexa Woodward and Herpreet Rayet-Boughey will talk about their careers and experiences as women in the profession.

For more information visit the RIBA website or go to Eventbrite and search Women in Architecture.