International Womens Day Panel
Last Friday NBRSARCHITECTURE held a panel discussion to celebrate International Women’s Day. Since 1911 the global celebration shines a light on the achievement but also the hurdles still to come for women everywhere. Challenges that women face differ across the world and it is an important day to both reflect on what we can do to further promote equity but also to celebrate how far we have come.
NBRS invited five esteemed guests and NBRS Director Samantha Polkinghorne to discuss their experiences working in the built environment industry. The panel was comprised of Belinda Parker the Architectural Lead of Arup in Sydney; Kirsten Orr, Registrar of the NSW Architects Registration Board; Maria Atkinson AM former Eastern District Commissioner for The Greater Sydney Commission and currently Director of Maria Atkinson Consultancy, Mary-Lynne Taylor Special Counsel (Environmental and Planning Law) at Partier Perry Lawyers; and Nicola Ashurst, Director of Adriel Consultancy.
Each of these women are leaders in their field and have forged a successful career in an industry that historically has shown great drop off rates of women architects. It was inspirational to hear the way each woman’s career has developed and inspirational to hear ways that they succeeded and how, at times they overcame adversity. The conversation, although being on International Women’s Day, was able to transcend the trope of discussing their place in an industry as a woman but became discussion that discussed the importance of accepting challenges, flexibility and diversity of voice. The panel were heard not just because they were women but because they are each pioneers in their fields, regardless of gender.
Thank you to everyone who spoke, who attended and to anyone who participated in International Women’s Day across the world. Understanding the importance of women not only in the built environment sector but within wider society needs to be valued, championed and promoted. We are richer, smarter and stronger when we lift all people up and especially those who historically have been overlooked or silenced.