When I was a little girl I always heard from my mother, you need to work twice as hard and make sure you will be heard to get the same position as a man. Man up. For me this felt as the solution for being a woman living in this world. To adjust to the current structures of our society.
Last month Nona Dalman and I had an interview with Merel Pit, editor-in-chief of architecture magazines A.ZINE and de Architect and Jolijn Valk, architect and partner of the company Urban Echoes. During this interview they gave me a whole new perspective. They said we as women especially don’t need to change to fit in these structures.
This is an easy answer to a complex question, but let me explain it to you. Nowadays we live in a world that’s mostly, physically and socially, designed by men, but these structures of our current society don't work for every person. As a woman we don’t need to adjust to the way our society is designed by men. The society needs to be changed to one where every voice will be heard. This was a whole new revelation for me. We shouldn’t optimize our position in this society, but we need to transform the society we live in. How can we solve this problem as future architects?
Nowadays a big difference between men and women is their sense of safety and security on the streets. A problem linked to gender inequality that we can solve as architects. We live in a world that’s mostly built and designed by men. What we see right now is that a lot of women feel unsafe in our current public spaces. One way to change that is to transform our public spaces. And in order to do that we need to look with different eyes to our world. How can we make a world where everyone feels welcome and safe?
Our role as future architects is to design a world looking through the eyes of a teenage girl. Women are confronted with these kinds of issues considerably more often in their everyday lives than men, especially young women, and that’s why it is so important that our voices will be heard. In order to make sure people will listen to them, we must give rise to new visions about the future that will change the status quo and hopefully we will create a world that is more inclusive.
To conclude, as architects we can be part of the solution and I think that as future architects; male, female and everything in between, we need to be aware of the role we play to eventually create a world where everyone feels safe and welcome. To create a place where diversity is celebrated instead of feared.
If you want to know more about this subject, please check our first podcast of the series Architect-uurtje and read the magazine Mevr. de Architect from A-ZINE.