Perspective - December 2017
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DECONSTRUCTING THE GLASS CEILING Seven years ago, I began my career at a company where the majority of staff are women – only two, at that time, were men. That was Vogue China. Helmed by the Chinese version of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada, the editor-in-chief is leading a female crusade that publishes the quintessential fashion bible – one that men in the country look up to. The women at Vogue China are stylish, confident and powerful, but chief among all, harder working than many others in the industry. Starting in an office like that was empowering and, fortunately, I’m still working with a cluster of forwardthinking people. But women’s issues have not been on the wider agenda until recently. Professor Nasrine Seraji, head of Hong Kong University’s Faculty of Architecture and student judge of this year’s A&D Trophy awards, told me that half of architectural students are women, but the percentage who actively practice is less than a third – and much less when it comes to women who are partners in architectural firms. What prevents female graduates and professionals from reaching their full potential? Clearly, something, somewhere is falling short.
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