New Brunswick

Retreat hopes to attract more women to architecture

A retreat in Saint Andrews aims to help more women get into architecture and stay there.

Despite equal numbers at university level, women make up only 20 per cent of working architects

Monica Adair and Alex Weaver Crawford are architects based in Saint John who are organizing the Building Equality in Architecture Atlantic retreat in Saint Andrews. (Julia Wright/CBC)

A retreat in Saint Andrews aims to help more women get into architecture.

Building Equality in Architecture Atlantic is hosting the retreat, which will feature workshops on work-life balance, succeeding in a male-dominated field and taking charge of your own career.

While there is general parity at the university level, women make up only 20 per cent of working architects, said organizer Alex Weaver Crawford.

Weaver Crawford, who owns the Saint John design firm Weaver Crawford Creative, said architects face a challenging time between graduation and their full certification as architects. 

Weaver said it can often take people until they are 40 to become certified architects, covering a time when women often have children.

Monica Adair, another organizer of the retreat and a partner at Acre Architects in Saint John, is a parent and said having more women in architecture would make it easier for other women who want to be architects and mothers.

"We actually need more women in mentorship roles, [so] we can see how they're navigating that path," said Adair.

Architects are getting together in St. Andrews later this month to talk about diversity in the profession. Monica Adair is with Acre Architects and Alex Weaver Crawford is with Weaver Crawford Creative. 8:38

Weaver Crawford said only 25 women are architects in New Brunswick, compared with 66 men.

Adair said diversity is important in architecture.

"If we want to shape our cities, they have to be built and designed by the people who they represent," she said. 

Organizers of the retreat next weekend also hope to address geographical challenges, which make networking for female architects difficult in Atlantic Canada.

"Networking in Toronto might be different than it happens here, or that it needs to be here, in that you can bump into them multiple times," said Adair.

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