Promoting Pay Equity, Gender Equality and Diversity Inclusion in Architecture

As one of seven partners in a 500-person firm, my colleagues and I confront issues of equity, diversity and inclusivity every day. And every day we make serious efforts to address discrimination and imbalance for the good of the firm and our industry. Like other professions, we’re trying to identify and confront root causes that collectively hold us all back.

As an active American Institute of Architects (AIA) Large Firm Roundtable member, our firm embraces the current LFRT initiatives to support the National Organization of Minority Architects. We’re proactively looking for ways to bring greater social diversity into our practice, as we believe a diverse design team—bringing different life experiences and perspectives to the design process—results in better design. Existing STEAM (STEM + Arts) and professional outreach programs must be expanded, particularly in the early stages of education when interest in careers begins. We’ve got to make our profession more accessible to underrepresented populations in all stages of the pipeline.

To improve gender diversity, firms must examine the effectiveness—and transparency—of their hiring and promotion practices. At Page, 45% of this year’s newly promoted leaders are women. The AIA must apply sanctions for any transgressions of equity/diversity/inclusivity policies that are already in place. Wrongdoing must have consequences, and that’s the role of our National Ethics Council. We also need to set policies where there are none, including complicity in ignoring issues. We’re making some progress on these fronts, and groups such as the Young Architects Forum are rolling out well-conceived initiatives—but there’s much work yet to be done!

To view James’s thoughts on other issues facing the AIA and the architecture industry, click the below links.

The Role of Architects and the AIA for the Public Good
Prioritizing Sustainability throughout the Architecture Profession
Engaging the Current Generation of Emerging Professionals
The Importance of Group Political Action to Architects
Promoting Architectural Innovation in the AIA
Influencing AIA’s Role in Influencing Architectural Education
We Need to Reinforce the AIA Pipeline
Live or Die: Overcoming the Architecture Industry’s Biggest Challenge
Striving for Greater Inclusivity in AIA of Non-Traditional Architects