Gang revealed that after looking into the issue, she found that male employees in her firm were paid a small margin more than their female counterparts.
The architect therefore moved to resolve the differences through pay rises this year.
In an article written for Fast Company – titled Architecture’s great injustice, according to Jeanne Gang – she explained that she was prompted to reassess the salaries of Studio Gang employees as part of a major push to improve gender equality and women’s recognition.
This drive encompasses events and movements including International Women’s Day, global marches and #MeToo. Dezeen also launched an initiative called Move the Needle to help encourage diversity in the architecture and design industry, in line with this shift.
Gang calls on architecture and design offices to fix pay inequity
Gang is now calling on other architecture and design offices to do the same, describing it as the most “tangible” way to create parity in the workplace.
“We can start by looking to the fundamental issue of respect in the workplace — pay,” said Gang in the article. “Unlike other measures of value, pay is a number. It’s tangible and objective.”
“Achieving pay equity is a foundational act of building an environment in which creativity can flourish,” she continued.
“Taking the first step toward equality via pay empowers us to move forward, together, to address the more complex challenges that await. Follow the money (or lack thereof), and fix pay inequity now.”
Major firms including Foster + Partners move to close gender pay gap
Studio Gang has 100 employees across its Chicago, New York and San Francisco offices. Four of its 10 principals, including Gang, are female – a markedly better ratio than the one found by a Dezeen survey of the world’s 100 biggest architecture firms, which revealed a “quite shocking” lack of gender diversity at senior levels.
Of Studio Gang’s 12 directors, five are women, while 35 of the 78 other team members are female.
Gang used a calculator created by the UK’s Government Equalities Office, which takes into account “incremental differences” like bonuses, to assess the equality of wages at her firm.
Dezeen also developed a calculator to measure the mean gender pay gap of salaries at architecture and design firms, as part of Move the Needle. Both Foster + Partners and Boogertman + Partners, Africa’s largest architecture practice, promised to tackle the gap at their firms after using the tool.
Gang joins wave of female architects pushing for gender equality
Gang’s move forms part of a major push to improve gender equality in the profession by boosting support for women in the field. She joins a host of female architects that are campaigning for equal rights in their profession, and attended a flash mob held at the Venice Architecture Biennale earlier this year that called for gender equality.
Others who have spoken publicly about the need to improve the numbers of women in the profession in comparison to men include Elizabeth Diller, who highlighted problems in the poor university-to-workplace ratio among women, and Billie Tsien, who called for better childcare provisions to help improve gender parity.
Architect and filmmaker Beverly Willis also recently released a new movie that aims to raise awareness of the women who have built projects in New York City.
Gang is among the female architects who are making waves in the city. Her firm – which she founded in 1997 – is currently developing a tower that will hug the High Line and recently revealed plans for a scalloped concrete condo tower for Brooklyn that follows a trend for non-glass skyscrapers in New York.
Last week, Studio Gang unveiled a proposal for a Toronto skyscraper made up of stretched hexagonal volumes, which would be its first project for Canada.
Portrait of Jeanne Gang is courtesy of Studio Gang.
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