Women and Leadership in the Australian Architecture Profession: Prelude to a Research Project

Gill Matthewson, Naomi Stead and Karen Burns


This chapter discusses the preliminary stages of a research project investigating implicit and explicit barriers leading to women’s underrepresentation in the architecture profession in Australia, especially in leadership roles. When gender balance in the student population in architecture has been near parity for more than three decades, why do such a small proportion of trained women formally register as architects, or join the peak representative body? More importantly for this chapter, and despite dem-onstrated skill, talent and competence, why do so few women proceed to the highest and most influential roles in the profession, and hence to lead the creation of the built environment that the rest of the population uses every day? Using ethnographic research methods to make a close examination of three case study workplaces, the project will attempt a clearer picture of how women fare in the architecture profession, why they leave, and what the implications in one profession might mean for women and leadership more broadly.


architectural practice, gender and architecture, workplace, ethnographic research, gender and organisations, professions

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