PARLOUR: a space to speak – bringing together research, informed opinion and resources; generating debate and discussion; expanding the spaces for women in Australian architecture.
Posts by Gill Matthewson

The Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice have been developed to help Australian architecture move towards a more equitable profession; one that offers opportunity for all and is better positioned to meet contemporary challenges.

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Architecture is in the midst of substantial change. How architects define themselves, how practices operate, and the range of roles and types of work pursued – all is up for grabs. Since the research underpinning the Parlour Guides began in 2011, many women and men in Australian architecture have stepped forward to ask for a more inclusive profession, one that assists women and men to better balance their professional and personal lives, to realise their full potential, and to stay in the profession.

The guides will help facilitate this change. Addressed to practices, employees and the wider profession, they outline the key issues facing women in architectural workplaces and provide positive, productive strategies and suggestions for change.

The Parlour Guides are for everyone.

The architecture firm of the future ­– with increased flexibility, meaningful part-time work, acceptable career breaks and reasonable hours ­– will benefit us all. Many of the challenges that face women in architecture also affect men, however they tend to impact on women in exaggerated ways.

There is no one reason for women’s significant under representation in architecture and no one solution. As a result, the Guides provide multiple tactics to deal with multiple issues. They also recognise that gender inequity needs to be tackled by us all: women and men, employers and employees, students and practitioners, universities and professional bodies, we all have the ability, and the obligation, to make a difference.

Download the guides here:

Introduction: Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice:

01 Pay Equity: Moving towards equal pay for women and men in architecture

02 Long hours: Challenging long-hours cultures in architecture

03 Part-time work: Creating and promoting meaningful part-time work in architecture

04 Flexibility: Making flexible working arrangements work in architecture

05 Recruitment: Achieving equitable recruitment in architecture

06 Career progression: Navigating diverse architectural careers.

07 Negotiation: Negotiating effectively in architecture.

08 Career break: Planning, managing and returning from a career break in architecture

09 Leadership: Promoting and supporting women to senior roles in architecture.

10 Mentoring: The importance of mentors in architecture

11 Registration: Supporting women who choose to register

Good luck and please let us know if the guides have been useful for you. We’d love to know if and how you have put them into practice. You can email us at hello@archiparlour.org

If you would like your own Parlour Guides poster, designed by Studio Catherine Griffiths, download the PDF version here ParlourGuides-Set.

Who counts?

Who counts?

Numbers provide one important indicator of the  current shape of the profession. Gill Matthewson explains where we are at in a piece originally published in the AA Dossier on Gender Equity. It is not easy to quantify exactly who works in architecture, or how they work. Figure 1 (above) represents the...
Architecture & the rhetoric of choice

Architecture & the rhetoric of choice

What is "choice" in the context of an architectural career? Gill Matthewson reflects on the rhetoric and the realities – economic and otherwise.
The 'half-life' of women architects

The ‘half-life’ of women architects

What can the 2011 census tell us about the "half-life" of woman architects? Gill Matthewson and Justine Clark take a look.
Architecture and the Goldilocks syndrome

Architecture and the Goldilocks syndrome

There are many types of architectural practices out there. Gill Matthewson suggests that young practitioners keep trying until they find one that suits them.
Updating the numbers, part 3: Institute membership

Updating the numbers, part 3: Institute membership

Gill Matthewson does the numbers on membership of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Updating the numbers, part 1: at school

Updating the numbers, part 1: at school

Gill Matthewson updates our statistical knowledge of women's participation in Australian architecture, starting with the state of play in architecture schools.
Updating the numbers, part 2: at work

Updating the numbers, part 2: at work

An update on the statistics – measuring women's involvement in practice and the profession.
Counting registered architects — no easy matter

Counting registered architects — no easy matter

One of the standard ways to measure women’s participation in architecture is to look at the numbers of registered architects. But this is no straightforward matter in Australia. Gill Matthewson describes the trials and tribulations of counting registered women, and finishes the most accurate count we have to date. If...
Angie the architect meets Rosie the riveter

Angie the architect meets Rosie the riveter

Are unlicensed women working in architecture the 'expendable proletariat'? Gill Matthewson looks at the lastest American Institute of Architects survey of “firm characteristics”.
Take it to the limit: women as architectural breach

Taking it to the limit

A generation after Gill Matthewson first asked, “where are all the women?” she is still, with some frustration, asking the same question.
Why bother?

Why bother?

Where do you go to? Gill Matthewson reflects on the continuing disappearance of women from architecture and why we should care (and not glaze over).
The numbers so far ...

The numbers so far …

So what can statistics tell us about the situation of women in architecture in Australia? Gill Matthewson outlines the data she has collected so far.
Women, leadership and democracy

Women, leadership and democracy

The paper "Women and Leadership in the Australian Architecture Profession: Prelude to a Research Project" details the current Women,Work and Leadership research project.
Architect Barbie & Vitruvius

Architect Barbie & Vitruvius

Ideal proportions. Gill Matthewson discusses Architect Barbie in her paper for Fabulation. We present some out takes.
Studying gender and the profession

Studying gender and the profession

Challenging assumptions. Gill Matthewson outlines her PhD project and some of the questions that have arisen so far.
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