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Celebrating Women's History Month with Female Designers

Building Enclosure | March 1, 2021

Monica Jamlang-Do

Studio Director

While we are “closing” the gap, it’s important the movement towards increasing equity in the A&D industry keeps its momentum, as we have much more work to do. While the gap is now more narrow, the challenges are harder to tackle. We have moved beyond hiring more women and now need to address how we create more opportunities and change internal implicit bias. Implicit bias is a difficult piece of the puzzle because it is hard to change a behavior if you don’t know you’re doing something wrong. Leadership teams need to closely consider why they think a man is a better fit for a role than a woman, and why you cannot help her rise to her position. While it’s frustrating we still have our biggest fights for equality ahead of us, we need to remember how far we’ve come, and increase our appetite to really close the gap. A boss of mine once said that we will get to our destination faster if we’re all rowing the boat in the same direction. Men should grab an oar and row in the same direction.

Having equity across genders should be an important goal for companies in the A&D industry, and that starts with companies’ leadership making this a priority and leading by example. I’m proud that I lead a diverse team of strong women that work with global retail and technology clients.

If you had asked me what being a woman in this industry means to me when I was younger, I would’ve been confused. I was surrounded by strong women and believed that I could be in any industry that I wanted. Now that I’ve seen the reality of inequity in the A&D industry, it means so much more to me to be an architect. I am just one of the many powerful women today who, just by being in the field, is reimagining what is considered normal. We support each other simply by understanding one other on a human level—listening to our goals and respecting the strengths that we each bring to the team. There is so much you can gain by just listening to the other person talk, and I am honored to be an advocate and mentor for my team.

Living in the Bay Area, with a more inclusive work and societal culture, I have seen that I am not the only woman nor person of color in the workplace. It allows me the freedom to feel comfortable, speak out more, and just get the job done. Because I’ve seen strong women of color represented before me, I don’t have to spend my energy proving I belong. I would not be in my current position if I was in an area where my value was constantly being questioned. I am an example for both my younger self and for future female architects, who can dream of futures filled with infinite possibilities.

The full article can be viewed here.


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