‘Barbie I Can be… Architect’

Mattel has teamed up with American Institute of Architects to create Architect Barbie for young girls.  Called ‘Barbie I Can be… Architect’, the doll is dressed in a little dress that showcases the city skyline; and comes with a hard hat, carrying case for her latest designs, a model dream house, and black-rimmed architect glasses.  Who said architects can’t wear pink? The costs of this Barbie is $19.89 and is available here.

She comes with a stylish architect design pink house.  A joint statement from Ms. Li and Ms. Paklar stated, “We are very honored to have been chosen by AIA and Mattel as a finalist and as the public favorite – Barbie was both of ours’ favorite doll growing up in China and Croatia. We appreciate the versatility of our profession which allows us to express ourselves in a myriad of ways – from entirely built city environments to a Barbie Dream House. We hope to encourage more young female architects to flex their design muscles and just to have fun with architecture.” Winners of Barbie House design.

However, if you been following my facebook page I have been uploading some good articles from Archi parlour. Their survey research shows that the problem isn’t getting women to enter the profession in the first place, it’s getting them to stay there. It’s generally accepted that the participation of women peaks in architecture school at approximately 40 percent. Once they’ve graduated, only a quarter of those women complete the registration, required to become a registered architect or even legally call oneself an “architect.”

Today, only 20% of practising architects are women. In terms of inclusion, architecture is lagging behind other US professions such as law (42% women) and medicine (39% women). Given that the public perception of architecture tends to be of a male-dominated profession, it is important to demonstrate the profusion of women who already work successfully in the field. It is important that potential future architects have a more accurate sense of what architectural work actually entails, with a more realistic portrait of everyday life in an architectural office, including the fact that this is a place and a profession for women as well as men.

I believe that women tend to have to work harder but also more strategically to make sure that the people above them know that it was them that did the job, and them that had the idea.

I think it is harder for a male architect going to a building site to say ‘oh my god, I’ve got no idea what that thing is,’ whereas a woman can say that, and the men [builders] seem to like teaching female architects. So that is a real advantage, that kind of freedom to ask a lot of questions without it becoming an ego or macho issue at all.

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