On March 8, 2019, our Global Studio—comprised of 15 locations in five different regions of the world—came together to celebrate International Women’s Day. Marked with the firm’s specific tagline, #WomenatWoodsBagot, studios were represented in our week-long social media campaign by a nominated female designer who exemplifies Woods Bagot’s culture.
Featured on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, each nominee was paired with a Q+A about their inspiration, journey, and advice to women interested in pursuing a profession in architecture and design. The nominees included Principal Charlotte Varley in our Hong Kong studio; London-based Associate Principal Debby Ray; Eva Sue, Principal in our Perth Studio; New York-based Interior Designer Jessica Culver; Associate Keiko Bouziri in Dubai; Sydney-based Associate Larisa Mos; Associate Principal Lisa Jennings in Melbourne; San Francisco-based Senior Associate Lucille Ynonsencio; Associate Qianqian Yang in the Beijing studio; Rita Jin, a Senior Architect in Shanghai; Senior Associate Sara Howden in Adelaide; and Brisbane-based Sarah McMahon, Associate Principal.
According to the United Nations, International Women’s Day, which is celebrated in 20 different countries, was first observed in the U.S. in 1909 as part of a labor movement when women protested their working conditions. Since then, it has taken on several causes throughout history such as attaining suffrage, holding public office, women’s rights to work, vocational training and ending discrimination in the workplace.
The architecture industry is no exception. In the U.S., for instance, male and female architecture students graduate at equal rates, according to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. However, as of 2017, only 28 percent of architects are women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This drop off can be attributed to myriad concerns including work-life balance, harassment, discrimination and lack of compensation and upward mobility.
Woods Bagot is a global firm and boasts a diverse makeup of backgrounds. For measure, women make up 35 percent of our principals and 47 percent of our overall workforce. And out of our nine-person Board of Directors, three are women.
Concrete policies have also been incorporated at the firm. Two years ago, we established a global whistleblower hotline to anonymously report misconduct in the workplace. There are also local initiatives to address equity in the workplace, such as the Shanghai studio’s Women’s Club. The firm is focused on spotlighting women’s contributions to the field and educating all employees on the benefits of having a diverse culture.