With a split of 49 women and 25 men, this is the first time the programme has seen a substantially higher ratio of women studying the course in the four years it has ran.
Although the programme in recent years has seen a more even balance, the wider School and other STEM subjects typically sees a significant imbalance of men on university courses.
However, the team behind Loughborough’s Architecture degree has worked on various initiatives for both its current and prospective students to tackle the lack of gender representation and visibility.
For example the team projected a film screening of ‘She Draws: She Builds’ for current students, which shared stories of women who are Architects. After watching the film, a 30-minute discussion was held about the stories of these women, as well as women in the professional more generally.
Various events have also been held; three local, female architects (Herpreet Rayet, Suzi Wong and Laura Highton) were all invited to meet with students on an informal basis to talk about their progression in the profession, as well as sharing both the opportunities and challenges they have experienced. In addition, seven virtual evenings took place over the summer as part of a ‘Diversity in Architecture Summer Lecture Series’.
This series features guest speakers who formed part of a wider conversation on diversity and inclusivity in architecture, and the programme team found students attended and engaged in these important discussions.
Furthermore, at Open Days the team see the importance of having visible gender representation in the form of both their staff and students being present to talk with prospective students and parents. Outreach initiatives and events supporting women in STEM also take place across the academic year. For example, the team actively supports Loughborough University’s ‘Girls into STEM’ outreach programme, with architecture sessions run by female staff.
And when presenting inspirational work to students from around the world through learning and teaching and events held, the team see the importance of exposing both male and female role models in the profession to have equal representation.
Programme Director, Dr Robert Schmidt III commented: “On our Architecture programme, we embrace inclusivity, and our approach from day one has been about providing a balanced engagement with the arts and the sciences as a way of supporting different modes of thinking and skillsets to achieve better diversity in the profession.”
Current student Danielle Riley commented: “I am so pleased to hear that more and more women have the opportunity to study Architecture at Loughborough. It sets a standard to follow and one that will hopefully continue to develop in the professional work environment in the coming years.”
Another student, Michelle Kring agrees: “I think it's great that what was once a male-dominated field is attracting creative students regardless of gender, and that the recent presence of female architects on the global stage can inspire and help even out this imbalance.”
Jemima Dabell, a third-year student added: “I think the course is great because contrary to other situations that I’ve been in, I feel that the women are respected equally and not looked down upon, or deemed less intelligent which I think can occur quite a lot in an academic environment. There is a great relationship between men and women on this course, and I think we learn a lot from each other.”
Find out more about studying Architecture at Loughborough here.