To mark International Women's Day 2021, the Royal Institute of British Architects
has published audio recordings of a four-part lecture series called Pioneers - Women Architects and Their Work: unheard by a public audience for 35 years.
The lectures were given and recorded at an event on 29 April 1986 at RIBA Headquarters in London, by four leading 20th century UK women architects: Jane Drew, Patricia Tindale, Elaine Denby, and Rosemary Stjernstedt.
Around 10 to 20 minutes long, each lecture features one of the architects reflecting on the trajectory of their career, exploring in part the impact that being a woman had on it and interrogating both their successes and the challenges they faced. Some of the challenges they raise include difficulties finding employment in practice, the impact of family life, and being asked to accept lower pay than their male colleagues.
The publishing of this lecture series forms part of the RIBAs celebrations for International Womens Day 2021: an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges women in the profession continue to face and to share practical guidance for how these can be tackled.
RIBA Director of Programmes and Collections, Adrian Steel commented: With over 4 million items in the RIBA Collections, our teams work hard to safeguard and make available the treasures we care for, to ensure that they can be used to inform and educate present and future generations. We were fortunate to be able to digitise the audio recordings of this lecture series in time to make them available online for International Womens Day. My hope is that these recordings will not only enable a greater understanding of these individual womens experiences, but also provide a lens through which to identify and address challenges that women in the profession face today.
RIBA Director of Inclusion and Diversity, Marsha Ramroop added: Uplifting the voices of and advocating for underrepresented groups in architecture, including women, both past, present and future is core to my work at the RIBA. These archive recordings, presented alongside contemporary views from women working today, emphasise the systemic issues which continue to impede womens success and perpetuate intersectional inequality. With renewed focus, we will be tackling these issues in a much more targeted way. Over the next year I will be working closely with members and staff to develop policies and guidance to address a number of the key issues, including menopause and menstruation; caregiving and acknowledging the burden of unpaid womens work, and slowing and reducing the off-ramping of women mid-study and mid-career. I will be sharing updates on our progress as we ensure that the RIBA works hard to support our members and staff to deliver inclusive cultures.