• 08 Mar 2023

Architecture and Planning Professions Join Forces on International Women’s Day

The Irish Planning Institute (IPI) and the RIAI have joined forces on International Women’s Day in a bid to support more women at all career stages in the Architecture and Planning Professions.

Charlotte Sheridan, President of the RIAI said, “I am proud of the achievements of Irish Women Architects from the legacy of the celebrated architect and modernist Eileen Gray (1878-1976) to Ireland’s Pritzker Prize Winners Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. Our colleagues have also led architecture institutes across the world including Angela Brady OBE, Past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA); Dr. Selma Harrington, Past President and current Vice President of the Architects Council of Europe; and Gerrie Doyle FRIAI, Past President of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) in Canada.” 

“At the RIAI we are committed to working towards equality, diversity and inclusion. We all know that architecture should work to reflect and serve the community and that our built environment greatly benefits from a holistic and inclusive view. Having women lead in Architecture ensures that there is a balanced perspective reflected in all stages of the design process, leading to better outcomes for all in society. In order to solve the challenges of our housing crisis and climate change, we need more Women Architects in leadership roles to address these challenges and to deliver sustainable resilient solutions. The RIAI is delighted to support an important postdoctoral research project by Dr Dervla MacManus at UCD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy on Gender equality in Irish architecture. My sincere thanks to my predecessors at the RIAI – Past Presidents Joan O’Connor FRIAI, Michelle Fagan MRIAI and Dr. Carole Pollard FRIAI and to our female colleagues on our Board and Council – for all of their work on equality, diversity and inclusivity. 

Mary Mac Mahon, President of the Irish Planning Institute said: “It is now two generations since the foundation of the Irish Planning Institute in 1975, nearly 50 years ago, and we now see women in top positions in planning across the public and private sectors. Approximately 40% of Senior Planners in our City and County Councils are now women and women hold senior positions in An Bord Pleanála also, which now has its second female chair. Women planners are now working at the senior levels of local authorities as Directors of Service too. Many women are self-employed as planning consultants and we have a number of women-led, planning consultancies.” 

“I am proud the Institute had its first woman president, Joan Caffrey, in 1983 and that there have been seven since - with five of our last ten Presidents women. More than half of our governing Council are women also. However, there is still more to do. There are significant opportunities in planning and these will only increase following the passage of the Planning Bill later this year. Last year local authorities indicated that they needed an additional 541 posts across technical and administrative roles in planning. Our accredited planning courses take a good mix of men and women but the numbers studying planning across the board must increase. Technological advances, remote working etc. may generate more opportunities for women in planning but we must continue to make planning a more attractive role in the public and private sectors.”