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A Design Guide for Creating Gender-Inclusive Work Environments; How Can the Built Environment Facilitate a More Equitable Work Environment Which Allows for Women in Architecture to be More Visible?

Part 2 Dissertation 2021
Leah Lopes
Oxford Brookes University Oxford | UK
This research project began with the same question that various feminist works in architecture begin, “where are the women?”. Architecture has a diversity problem; our profession needs to better represent the communities we design for. Despite there being an equal number of men and women entering the architectural profession today, women disappear as seniority increases. The reasons for ‘why women leave’ has been extensively researched and documented as being due to the culture and working conditions. However, there has been little research on how the physical workplace can disenchant women.

One size does not fit all; our built environment needs to be more inclusive and supportive of diversity. Architects need to design spaces that cater for individuals’ needs, rather than continuing to follow conventional standards that have been put in place from androcentric perspectives. This design guide begins to address and demonstrate how the built environment and profession can be more inclusive and supportive of marginalised gender identities. It explores anthropometric scale and ergonomics, lactation rooms, work-life balance, gender-neutral toilets, spatial arrangements, and health and well-being. The goal is to encourage architects to design more inclusive and humane work environments that will benefit the profession, society and communities at large.

Leah Lopes

Hannah Durham
Mike Halliwell
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