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Architects and engineers confront their gender problem

12 April 2018

Engineers and architects across New Zealand have come together to launch a provocative campaign calling for increased representation of women in their professions.

The Diversity Agenda is a collaboration between Engineering New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and the Association of Consulting Engineers (ACENZ). It is a commitment to diversity and inclusion, with an initial focus on women, with the goal of getting 20 percent more women in engineering and architecture by 2021.

Engineering New Zealand President Dean Kimpton says it’s time to stand up for a better gender balance.

“While other professions have increased their proportion of women, our industry has remained stubbornly male-dominated. Especially at senior levels, where women are massively underrepresented – quite frankly, it’s changing too slowly.”

NZIA President Christina van Bohemen says only 20 percent of all Registered Architects and NZIA Fellows are female. She is only the second female President of NZIA in 113 years.

“The pursuit of gender equality is both a moral issue, and an economic imperative for success in the 21st century.”

ACENZ President Mike Kerr says the fact that firms are lining up to support the campaign shows there is a drive for change. “It’s the first time our professions have rallied around this issue. We want to see tangible action – and that’s why we’ve launched the Diversity Agenda.”

More 40 organisations have already committed to the Diversity Agenda and its initial focus on women in the profession.

The campaign will continue to sign up organisations, ask them to commit to taking action – and publicly hold them accountable. It’s backed up by a hard-hitting social media campaign featuring the stories of women working in architecture and engineering.

See more at diversityagenda.org and #statsthatsuck

Organisations supporting the campaign include:

AECOM, Anguillid Consulting Engineers and Scientists, architectus, Arthouse Architects, Auckland Council, Aurecon, Beca, Batchelar McDougall Consulting, chowhill, Contact Energy, Context Architects, Davis Ogilvie, Designgroup Stapleton Elliott, Downer, Electricity Engineers' Association, GHD, Herriot Melhuish O’Neill Architects, Harrison Grierson, HEB Construction, Holmes, Isthmus, Jasmax, Meridian, NZ Transport Agency, Pederson Read, Salmond Architecture, Scarlet Architects, Sills van Bohemen, Stantec, Studio of Pacific Architecture, Thorne Dwyer Structures, Tonkin + Taylor, University of Auckland, Warren and Mahoney, Watercare, WSP Opus.