A fresh wave of outrage filled my Facebook feed last night in response to a lack of gender diversity in the recently announced keynote speaker line-up at the upcoming AIA National Convention in Orlando. The roster of speakers lacks diversity, which is a sad, and unfortunately accurate, reflection of the composition of our profession.
After Dame Zaha Hadid’s sudden death was announced last week, the design blogosphere began asking what she and her work meant to female architects. For many, apparently, the answer is that Zaha was a role model who cracked the glass ceiling and showed us just what is possible for female architects to achieve in this new millennium.
But, wait, you’re thinking. Me? How could I be prejudiced? I’m a well-educated, forward-thinking Bay Area resident, a member of an historically persecuted minority, and a card-carrying member of the ACLU! Heck, my formative years were spent memorizing the soundtrack of “Free to Be, You and Me!” I’m not prejudiced!
“For a woman to go out alone in architecture is still very, very hard,” the architect Zaha Hadid said. “It’s still a man’s world.” Ms. Hadid often stated that she did not want to serve as a symbol of progress for women in her profession. But, inevitably, she did.