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Woods Bagot's Champions of Change.

August 26, 2016

Champions of Change requires men of power and influence to undertake personal and professional reflection and collaborate to drive improvements in gender equality.

The AIA (NSW Chapter) supported a Champions of Change initiative, which launched in March of last year. It brought together leaders from nine of Australia’s largest architecture firms with a commitment to advancing more diverse and flexible workplaces, with Woods Bagot just one of these practices committed to creating a more equitable architecture profession.

Sydney Principal and Champion of Change, Gary Power said the focus of the initiative is on ensuring men act as agents for gender equality, given their over representation in higher levels of architecture practice.

“The best places to work in are those that mirror the diversity of the wider community; Woods Bagot is proud to stand for equality in the workplace - it enhances our working lives, ensures we are all rewarded appropriately for our efforts, and ultimately ensures the best design outcomes,” he said.

As Associate and Implementation Leader, Lisa Sykes explained, since the initiative launched both herself and Gary have been heavily involved in facilitating conversations internally and with other practices about how to provide a more equitable workplace.

“Some of the areas we have been discussing are looking at ways of improving planning careers, career transitions through life changing events, and looking at ways to keep the conversation going to make the transition period easier. Alongside this, there has been a drive through both research and policy towards better understanding what constrains gender diversity has within the architectural workplace,” she said.

Sykes said that the profession had a significant way to go to be gender neutral, but that great strides had been made to ensure Woods Bagot was leading the pack in approach and outcomes.

“We are only just scraping the surface of initiatives that we can implement to improve gender balance. Architecture, as a profession across the board, still requires progress, but providing open levels of dialogue and addressing common issues in design practices can prepare the ground for change further down the track,” she said.

A recent example of this was demonstrated in the Champions of Change video which features Lisa and Gary and other representatives from Sydney architecture practices. This was shown at the AIA Chapter Awards in July.

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