Discover Germany, Issue 86, Architecture Special, October 2021

Page 15

Discover Germany  |  Architecture Special

ing while wanting to maintain the continuity of my professional activity. The fact that we as women are assertive is also shown by the fact that more and more women have managed to get involved in voluntary work and we have been able to win the trust of everyone, including that of our male colleagues. I myself have been president of the Federal Chamber of Architects since 2013.

How did the perception of women in architecture change over the years? Is the architectural profession still deemed to be a primarily maledominated field even though more women now study architecture in Germany than men? When I started studying, only 10 per cent of my colleagues were female. And today? More than half of all students in the fields of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and urban planning are female. A promis-  ing start to an equal professional life? If you look into practice, the architectural world did not really change. Only a good third of the more than 135,000 colleagues registered in the Chamber  of Architects are women. And the number of women in managerial positions or even the ownership of architectural offices is vanishingly small. According to the membership statistics of the Federal Chamber of Architects, women are only represented as owners by 1 per cent in offices with 10 or more employees. Equality is an issue that affects society as a whole and can only succeed if politics and business understand equality as an opportunity for more social justice, more prosperity and more development. Women are in-

Photo: © Till Budde

creasingly demanding their fair share of the labour market. In addition, there is a growing willingness in companies to promote women more naturally and support them in their careers. Equal opportunity has long been an economic factor for modern societies. The growing number of female architects will change architecture and urban planning. I am excited to see the industry change more and more.

What do women bring to architecture that men maybe can’t? Carefully planned and sustainably built buildings in lively quarters with attractive open spaces are of elementary importance for an open and self-

determined society. We certainly need the holistic female view on our built environment and the contribution of women architects.

What would you recommend young women trying to become architects today? My recommendation is: be confident, authentic and persevere, while cultivating your own inspiring and diverse networks. Digitisation, climate protection and demographic changes bring further challenges into our everyday professional life, and it takes courage to invite everyone to help shape it and the courage to get involved. But it opens up opportunities that we can use together.

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