Ayn Rand & Gender Inequity
I love this quote by Ayn Rand. For me, it especially hits home on the heels of the recent Architecture Magazine article “Gender Inequity and Architecture.” I never thought that 20 years after my graduation this topic of women in architecture would be relevant. Clearly it is. (To be honest, I didn’t even know it was relevant as an 18 year old. I just wanted to be an architect!)
The article found that “A lack of women in leadership positions subsequently results in a deficit of female role models. When respondents who had indicated that they had left the profession were asked about their reasons, 32 percent of females cited a lack of role models; 26 percent of males gave the same answer.” The article goes onto cite many reasons why there are not more female registered architects and more females in firm leadership roles. (Personally, I also found the 26 percent of males answering the same just as disappointing)
Reading the article, the thoughts expressed and facts detailed felt foreign to me. But that is because MKSD is not the firm described in the article. We have never hired anyone based on gender. Yet we have ended up with an office that is equally split between men and women. We always hired the best person for the job and that has resulted in a staff that is equally as diverse as represented in architecture schools. Our office is composed of people who are all talented, committed, hardworking, experienced, and passionate; those qualities are ‘genderless’.
We have also never held anyone back based on gender. Even in professional licensure, when only 15-18% of licensed architects are women, MKSD exceeds the average with 44%. Why do we stand above the average?
Maybe some of it is because as the article states, when you have women in leadership roles, the playing field becomes level. Maybe some of it goes back to the quote from Rand. I was never one to think there could possibly be a limit on what I could do and MKSD is full of people who think the same way! (Not arrogant, just confident) Gender, to us, is not a predictor of success or failure.
The bigger predictor of failure is allowing the demons of doubt and fear to seep into our minds and stop us from believing we can achieve our goals, whatever they may be. At MKSD we strive to make efforts to foster confidence and offer opportunity to all of our staff. For anyone facing the challenges that a demanding profession like architecture (or many others) brings, male or female, some advice for success:
•Help create your own opportunities,
•Make yourself invaluable,
•Surround yourself with others who are like minded and support you,
•Represent yourself as you expect others to see you,
•And lastly, “don’t let anyone stop you!”