“On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.” – UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
In celebration of Women’s History Month as well as International Women’s Day this March 8th, we feel it is important to recognize the spirit of progress and change surrounding the topic of women and diversity in our close-knit Architecture & Design community. As an advocate of this discussion, we believe design plays an important role in fostering diversity and inclusion, as seen in NY Times’ March 2017 feature of our Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, bridging the discussion of diversity in Hollywood and Design.
As the AEC industry continues to become more diverse, industry organizations are stepping up to champion this important issue. Just last month, the AIA NY’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee held a day-long seminar at New York’s Center for Architecture, Next Gen Arch – Designing towards an Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive Architecture Profession. Highlighting implementation strategies to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession, we were proud to have our HR Director, Mary Beth Lardaro, and Associate, Venesa Alicea, represent Dattner Architects. Also a supporter of the BWAF, an organization dedicated to embracing issues specific to women in the building industry, Dattner Architects’ Managing Principal, Kirsten Sibilia, sits on the Board of Directors, and two members of our firm are participating in their Emerging Leaders Program. On February 27th, Kirsten Sibilia also joined the AIA CNJ’s Women in Architecture Panel, Paths to Opportunity, to speak about what inspired them to take their chosen career path, the challenges they faced, and what advice they have for women who are at a crossroads in their career.
In January, our firm organized a coalition of architecture firms to March in support of women’s rights, and last June, we also gathered members of our firm to support the annual NYC Pride March, walking in tandem with other A/E/C firms. These events symbolize a city dedicated to representing and empowering all people. As a firm dedicated to designing spaces that enrich and inspire, we will continue to seek out opportunities to lend our values and voices to support women and diversity inside and outside of our industry.
In 2018, our firm’s support of women leadership is reflected through our 2018 promotions, and we are proud to announce the establishment of a Dattner Women’s Group, dedicated to encouraging the career development of women at Dattner Architects; creating a supportive office culture that recognizes the unique challenges associated with being a woman in the field of design and construction; and educating ourselves about ways in which we can support the ideas and goals of the women we worth with. Stay tuned during the month of March to see how Dattner Architects is ingrained in this important issue and what we are doing within our firm and around the industry to be a part of the change.