Whilst the professional prejudices facing women architects are becoming more widely discussed, less is known about the pressures facing women architecture academics, the majority of whom remain in a minority position and fail to mirror the career progression afforded their male counterparts. Precisely because education both reflects and directs professional practice, there is an urgent need to question why women remain poorly represented in academic leadership roles.
The AIANY Women in Architecture Committee is honored to have Harriet Harriss as our featured Women’s History Month Leadership Breakfast speaker. Her talk, Mistresses Of The Architectural Academy, will consider tactics for increasing women’s leadership within the architecture academy—assessing whether feminist leadership theories have so far offered a sufficient challenge to the pervasive model of leadership predicated on hierarchy, individuality and rationality; the pernicious conflation of ‘feminist’ and ‘feminine’ leadership as mutually characterized by ‘conversational’ and ‘participatory’ approaches; the debilitating influence of ‘gender-blind’ (but largely male-authored) organizational theories against which women’s potential is judged; and whether it really is feasible for women to use their marginality as a tool for professional progress or whether assuming the role of mistress of architecture and defining what that role should constitute will require a whole new set of tactics altogether.
Harriet Harriss, Assoc. AIA, RIBA, PhD, Dean, Pratt School of Architecture