Learning from Los Angeles about female empowerment

Mark Middleton, Grimshaw

Mark Middleton reports from the US’s Women in Architecture conference

Laura Friedman wants to talk about power. She is a member of the California State Assembly, ex-mayor of Glendale, former film producer and the keynote speaker for “Powerful V”, the annual AIA conference about Women in Architecture. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised that the issue of sexual harassment was raised so early, readily and before such a large forum but with Weinstein revelations the issue is very present here in any discussion about gender diversity.

She argued that the opportunity for abuse is created where there is an unbalanced dynamic between the powerful and the powerless. This is typically found in professions with perceived patriarchal structures such as politics, film direction and – yes – architecture. These are fields where young women are desperate to establish themselves and as a result can be vulnerable.

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