Symposium to Examine The Missing 32%

Today in the United States, only about 18 percent of licensed architects are women. But architecture schools graduate nearly equal numbers of women and men. So, there’s a 32-percent gender discrepancy between graduation and licensure in the architecture profession. Some women remain in practice and do not pursue licensure, while others leave the profession altogether. Why?


In San Francisco, a number of architects have initiated an effort to shed light on the issue and examine ways to change it. Architect Rosa Sheng, AIA, a senior associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and a member of the board of AIA San Francisco, has spearheaded the effort, called The Missing 32% Project. Organized as a committee of AIA San Francisco, the The Missing 32% Project mission is to investigate what is causing this disparity between men and women architects and to support the women who do decide to pursue their passion for architecture.

The Missing 32% Project will hold a day-long Equity by Design Symposium on October 18 in San Francisco. The symposium, titled Equity by Design: Knowledge, Discussion, Action! will include data sharing and discussion.  Registration is filling up and space is limited.

The Missing 32% Project launched an Equity in Architecture Survey from February through March 2014, and nearly 2,300 people in the profession from around the country responded. A portion of the results have been released on The Missing 32% Project website, and more will be made public at the symposium. 

The results of one question were revealed. For the question “How do you define success in your career today?,” out of 16 possible answers, the top three key responses were:

  • Work/Life Flexibility
  • Working on projects of personal and professional significance
  • Working with a positive, talented, collaborative team. (and Social Impact / Making a difference was a close runner up).

 At the symposium, more results from the survey will be unveiled in three key areas: Hiring & Retention, Growth & Development, and Meaning & Influence.


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