Places Books

Where Are the Women Architects?

Princeton University Press

April 2016

You might remember when Despina Stratigakos lit a fire on the internet with an insider’s look at the making of Architect Barbie. Or you might recall her landmark essay on writing women architects back into history, and the story she told of a (male) Wikipedia editor who tried to delete an entry on architect Thekla Schild within minutes of its creation. “He expressed doubt that Schild had ever existed,” Stratigakos wrote. “During the past 15 years of writing about women architects, I have certainly encountered dismissive attitudes toward the topic, but no one had ever denied the actual existence of my subjects.” Since then, Wikipedia’s “List of Women Architects” has doubled, thanks to the efforts of activist groups like ArchiteXX and Parlour.

In 2016, Despina Stratigakos expanded her Places’ essays into the inaugural volume of Places Books. Where Are the Women Architects? is a provocative critique on the state of the profession — one that has only become timelier and more urgent in the years since publication.

For a century and a half, women have been proving their passion and talent for building and, in recent decades, their enrollment in architecture schools has soared. Yet the number of women working as architects remains stubbornly low, and the higher one looks in the profession, the scarcer women become. Law and medicine, two equally demanding and traditionally male professions, have been much more successful in retaining and integrating women. So why do women still struggle to keep a toehold in architecture? Where Are the Women Architects? tells the story of women’s stagnating numbers in a profession that remains a male citadel, and explores how a new generation of activists is fighting back, grabbing headlines, and building coalitions that promise to bring about change.