A project by Kathryn Rogers’ Sogno Design Group
Widening the Lens to Look at Other Groups
Beyond examining gender-based challenges within the community, Equity by Design has expanded its focus in the years since its founding to include inequities faced by other groups as well. Architecture has long been criticized for its lack of diversity, and the homogeneity persists.
AIA data suggests the 78 percent of survey respondents who identified as white or Caucasian, for instance, is fairly representative of the level of racial and ethnic diversity that exists within the field as a whole. Like gender-based gaps, race-based pay gaps also exist at every level of experience in the industry. And while the reported leadership gap between white men and white women has narrowed since the first survey was released in 2014, the gap between white men and men and women of color has actually widened since 2016’s survey.
More diversity in leadership roles, on classroom syllabuses and throughout the field in general could go a long way in introducing different perspectives and encouraging more diversity at all levels for the next generation of pros. Without seeing themselves represented in leadership roles, aspiring architects, whether women, minorities or both, may face a number of disadvantages — from implicit bias to a lack of relatable mentors — that could lead to their avoiding or leaving the profession, the report suggests.
“Everybody sees things through their own filter, so I think you would get a lot more creativity [with more architects from diverse backgrounds]. There wouldn’t be one way to solve a problem,” founder and principal architect Kathryn Rogers of Sogno Design Group
in California says.
“Even just being somebody who was working while raising their children, I’m going to be sensitive to families in a different way, I will understand things in a different way, just my own life experience and being female. Coming from an immigrant family or something like that, you might be able to relate to people better, you might be sensitive to certain things. I just think there needs to be so much more diversity to be able to serve a diverse population.”