- Article by Tili Bensley-Nettheim
In recognition of eight years of research advocacy and action toward achieving gender parity in architecture, Parlour has been awarded the Paula Whitman Leadership in Gender Equity Prize.
The Leadership in Gender Equity Prize recognises exceptional leadership and outstanding contribution to the advancement of gender equity in architectural practice, education and governance.
The 2020 prize winner, Parlour, is a research-based advocacy organisation dedicated to improving gender equity in Australian architecture and built environment industries.
Compiling its scholarly and advocacy work, the Parlour website was established by Justine Clark in 2012 and has become a core forum for discussions about gender inequities in A&D. In 2016, Parlour launched Marion’s List, a public register for women architects and built environment practitioners.
By co-locating female architects and built environment professionals in their platform, Parlour has built a powerful network of women with the rigor to advocate for fairer work practices.
The prize jury’s citation notes Parlour’s existence at the intersection of scholarship and activism: “combining research, education, advocacy and engagement, Parlour’s work has led to significant changes in policy, structure and attitudes across the profession in Australia and increasingly around the world.”
“Parlour’s compelling and wide-reaching projects work to transform architecture into a more equitable and robust profession demonstrating outstanding leadership in gender equity in architecture.”
The award is named after the late Paula Whitman, a revered Australian architect and academic and the first female chapter president of the Australian Institute of Architects. Whitman’s landmark 2005 report Going Places: The Career Progression of Women in the Architectural Profession is a foundational document for research into gendered expectations in Australian architecture and is a precedent for Parlour’s own work.
The Parlour team note the timeliness of the accolade, as the COVID-19 pandemic causes tremendous disruption to the A&D industry, deepening the chasms of existing societal inequalities.
“The impacts of the pandemic are reshaping and remaking architectural workplaces and inviting much speculation on the role, shape and meaning of public and private spaces. The effects of the associated downturn are also very likely to have a gendered component, closely entwined with many others,” says the Parlour team
“Parlour is continuing to explore the effects and impacts, publish considered opinion and analysis, and share stories. This award helps give us an extra spring in our step as we plan our next moves!”
The 2020 prize jury:
- Clare Cousins LFRAIA (Chair), – National Immediate Past President | Director, Clare Cousins Architects
- Anne Clisby RAIA – National Gender Equity Committee Co-Chair | Associate Director, Denton Corker Marshall
- Melonie Bayl-Smith FRAIA – National Gender Equity Committee Co-Chair | Director, Bijl Architecture | Adjunct Professor, UTS School of Architecture
- Chris Morley RAIA – EmAGN President Delegate | SA EmAGN Co-Chair | Director, Echelon Studio Gina Engelhardt – SONA President | Student of Architecture, Hassell
Read our interview with SJB’s Monica Edwards on the long road to gender equity in the industry and watch our video chat with Architectus’ Marina Carroll and Elizabeth Seuseu about the impact gender has played in their careers.