With the spotlight on women and their role in the architectural industry, women architects inspired each other to embrace their identities and reinvent themselves at a Women’s Day breakfast event hosted by Marley Building Systems and the Gauteng Institute for Architects (GIfA) in August.
The spotlight was on women and their role in the architectural industry at a delightful Woman’s Day breakfast hosted by Marley Building Systems and the Gauteng Institute for Architects (GIfA) in August.
Inspiring attendees with her talk, Ariane Janse van Rensburg, senior lecturer at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of the Witwatersrand, explained why women in architecture need to reinvent themselves, not just for the purpose of diversity, but as important influencers.
“How are we going to get other people to take us seriously and restructure things in such a way that our fees no longer allude to the value of the building cost, but are linked to the value of the problem that we are solving?
“We are trained as problem solvers, and we should be transforming ourselves and our profession to recognise this and find new ways of working,” she stated.
Tazneem Razak from Lemon Pebble Architects encouraged women to embrace their identities. Having been brought up in the 1980s during apartheid, she spoke about her own challenges that came with being a black female, Muslim architect.
“There is a stereotype about what I do,” she explained, pointing out that in Zaha Hadid’s words, “women play on the playground of patriarchy”, where their skills, scale of work, business acumen and even partnerships comes into call.
“Each time, as conversations progress, it diminishes my role and when I don’t challenge someone else’s perceptions in order to be polite, I become an enabler of the stereotypes that become dominant in our conversation.
“But the real power is in acknowledging the separate fractured roles. I am an architect, I’m black, I’m Muslim, I’m female and I have power in these roles. And I look at the women before me and I anticipate the women who come after me, because I believe that women are strong, tough, smart and gifted,” she concluded.
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Caption: WALLS&ROOFS editor, Marlene van Rooyen (second from right), with the ladies from Marley Building Systems: Ayanda Ndlovu, brand and communications manager, Seseselelo Matlapeng, marketing manager, Marinda de Beer, Equitone specifications and product manager and Abigail Mnkandla, events coordinator, at the Woman’s Day Breakfast.