Currently, women dominate the interior design industry with 69% of the overall 87,000 design practitioners according to the Insertional Interior Design Association. However, only a minority of firms have female leaders.
According to from the report by Anna Volpicelli in 7×7:
“While famous women such as Zaha Hadid, Odile Decq, and Jennifer Siegal are paving the road to the very top, the Bay Area is also full of talented female designers and architects who are making a name for themselves in San Francisco and beyond.”
The Current Setup of the Industry
In spite of the proven accomplishments of these women, whether domestically or internationally, there’s still an unspoken stigma that men are still far superior builders, architects, and designers.
Based on the recent survey of Construction Wire for Hanley Wood, “women in architecture are promoted less frequently than men, make less money than men, occupy fewer leadership positions than men, receive fewer awards than men, find their jobs less satisfying than men, and, not surprisingly, abandon the profession in greater numbers than men.”
Despite the male-dominance in the industry, the statistics show that the world of interior design and architecture is comprised mainly of women. And with the amount of effort each female designer and architect partakes in the industry, there are also positive changes already in motion.
The Start of Primed Change
“Today, the profession is far more egalitarian. The era of improper behavior towards women is long gone thankfully. I am happy to report that both the design and construction professions have many more women in powerful positions and a woman’s ability to multi-task and see the big picture while following up on small details is seen as a valuable set of skills,” said Lisa Bottom, Design Principal at Gensler San Francisco.
Volpicelli from 7×7 interviewed two more designers in the Bay, SF area, which includes Anne Fougeron (Principal of Fougeron Architecture) and Kendall Wilkinson (Principal of Kendall Wilkinson Design
When asked about the challenges in the current industry structure, Fougeron states:
“I think women are primed to take over and be the new emerging voice in the field of architecture. We just need to keep pushing down the barriers of sexism. We must remember to always ask for what is rightfully ours.”
Wilkinson adds, “Bringing a female perspective to industries with a heavy male concentration (architects, builders, etc.) can be a benefit as it may be quite different in terms of flow, usage of space and even conflict resolution. Ideally, it is about the collaboration of talent and creativity and life experience.”