Lately I've been noticing an annoying occurrence on several of the project teams I'm on. On more than one occasion, I've been seated at the conference table discussing a project with the entire team (architects, engineers, etc.) and i feel like my voice and opinions and suggestions are totally falling on deaf ears. More often than not, it's when I'm working on a team that is composed primarily of middle-aged men. It didn't occur to me until after this had happened on several different projects that perhaps i am being dismissed due to three strikes against me: i'm young, female, and a landscape architect.
This revelation totally caught me off guard. Of course, I knew when I signed up for this profession that the A&E and construction industries are typically male-dominated. But i figured, this isn't the dark age. Women's lib is alive and well, and women can thrive in any industry! Even my graduating class was an even 50/50 split of men and women. But after a few years in the 'real world', I am starting to become frustrated at what appears to be a subliminal form of discrimination!
I was just curious if the other women on this forum have experienced the same. I thought, is this because I'm working in the south, where the 'good old boy' mentality is still prevalent? Is this just typical of ALL landscape architects when working with other A&E professionals, and not just b/c I'm a woman? Or is it due to all three factors, a triple whammy against me? I'm curious to know what others on the forum have experienced.
You got me thinking and trying to genderize the places that I have worked at, the boards that I present to, the attornies and consultants that I often work with ... The best news is that I actually did have to think about it, hopefully because it is just such a non-issue. But when I do think about it, males are the majority in numbers, but of those individuals know to have a lot of clout it is pretty much 50/50 in my circles.
Three of the six most desirable land development attorneys that I would rate are women. The two strongest presences in environmental consulting for development at the local level in my area are women. One larger male owned land planning firms has a majority of women both as CEs and staff in general. Most others are mixed. There seems to be either a balance or women as a majority in the town planning positions and in the top spots.
I think there are individuals that carry baggage, but at least in my area, we are way past that as a society and institutionally for the most part.
PS. If there was a "like" button, I would have hit it for both your response to this thread above and Leslies shortly before that. Both are patient, strategic, practical, and not getting walked on.
Well, lets look at the bright side here... if you are a woman working in a male dominated profession such as landscape architecture, you could take solace in the fact that you still have a job in this economy. ツ
Anyway, If you have talent, it will be recognized if you continue to work hard-- male or female. That is my belief. I could be naive, but that is the form of naivety that if we all had, it would actually mean things are equitable.
Oh, I totally agree! I was actually not referring to landscape architecture, but other jobs I have had over the years, in environmental health enforcement. I did soil testing, air monitoring for asbestos removal, that sort of work, and I had to be kind of tough in that role. Now as a planner I have to be that way a bit, too...but I don't think of either planning or landscape architecture as being particularly male-dominated. Most planners and landscape architects I know are not that way.
I agree with you about hard work being the important thing.
article in todays Huff. Post re: women architects..Not totally relevant to us LA's....
I think it absolutely is relevant. And what the dean of Harvard said is true of many women - since we are the only sex of our species able to procreate, we reach a point where we have to make a decision.....Catherine Brown apparently wrote on making the choice not to have children in favor of her career, reflecting the choice of many of her contemporaries, though I haven't been able to find her writings.
That said - the two major building projects in my town - a new elementary school and new county courthouse - were BOTH designed by women (who each happen to have small children) and they both have very good working relationships with the construction project managers, which I think sets the tone for the rest of the crew.
My bone to pick is this - where is this topic in ASLA conferences? Where is it on their website?
Women (especially with children) tend to have small sole proprietorships (for the flexibility) and no big firm paying their ASLA memberships, I suspect making up the unseen unheard group of women not accounted for in the difference between graduation numbers and women in the profession. If I was an ASLA office aware of this missing group, I would be pounding the pavement trying to recruit them - these are the people that link our communities with landscape architecture - they are the ones volunteering in parks and schools and on city committees; working with clients who don't have million dollar residences, but who still want good design.
We're always musing on how to educate the public on what landscape architecture is - well these are the people who are putting it in terms that Joe down the street can relate to. They're educating one person at a time, a whole school of children at one time, the entire staff of a city until suddenly the next project that comes up simply can't be done without a landscape architect. And that is completely off the radar, unaccounted for....???
I think there was either a "women in landscape architecture" class in my U (Idaho) or there was a separate organization dedicated to it. ... even in Idaho, the department chair was a women in the early 90's. I remember that the title "women in landscape architecture" was very prevalent somewhere while I was in school. ..it may have been ASLA.
Yeah - I've seen that link. Last time I checked the last activity on it was in 2008 or 2007. I even emailed the moderator of the group and got no response.....oh - plus you have to be an ASLA member to be part of the group....see my comments above.
Good for your school, were there any other women on the faculty? We did have a woman chair, tenured, and one woman faculty member, not tenured and who could not get tenure, and one adjunct, also not tenured. The rest, male, all tenured.
She actually stepped down as I was re-enrolling (I was in her sophomore class 12 years before).There were only four full time faculty (all men) in the department at the time, but there were two women adjunct professors. There is now one full time professor and one assistant professor who happen to be female - all of the male faculty were there in 1994 .. all the people who were not are women, now that I look at it.
My class in '97 was an even split of students, if I recall .... maybe one more man than woman (7-6) .
I'm a registered l.a. with about 18 years experience (residential, commercial, and public projects including construction administration)...and a female. Here's what I've found not only though my work but by talking with other female l.a. friends. Sometime clients, architects, engineers, contractors, and other l.a.'s - both male and female - don't listen to you as much as you'd like or think that they should especially when when you are first starting out.
Couple pieces of advice:
That all said, have I had male contactors, architects, etc. 'blow me off' when I've said something? Sure, but I'm sure that that also happens to guys. Do I get annoyed? Sometimes. Do I keep my mouth shut during meeting when I see a problem or have an idea? Nope. Do I always "get my way"? Nope...not even after 18 years.
Stick with it and you will see results. Don't let it get to you. Talk to a mentor who can help you through when it is really frustrating.