April Book Club Pick
Welcome to the Galchitects' Monthly Book Club! Each month we will post about a different book we have read that we think you may enjoy as well! You will also find a brief summary, some thoughts, or favorite quotes from the book. Feel free to discuss your thoughts on the book in our Facebook Group!
Our April 2018 pick is Womenomics by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay.
It was interesting to learn what these two authors had to say about women writing their own rules for success in the workplace. They had us intrigued from page one, where they outline a "story" about a woman named Erin that seems all too familiar. While some points made throughout the book seem far-fetched, the overarching idea most definitely strikes a chord: most of us are after something more elusive than just a "title" - freedom, time, control, and a sane work life.
The topic of "where are the women in architecture?" seems to be increasingly prevalent over the past year or two. Interestingly enough, some quotes from this book may support the topic:
"We've spent years pretending more time at work is our life's ambition. We, like many women we know, have even succumbed to boasting about how late we have to work - as if that's really some kind of achievement. Why do we buy into that outdated, macho construct of hours on the job being the definition of success?
"[Women] sniff out claustrophobic corporate culture from blocks away and jump ship if it threatens our family life. We viscerally understand from the start what the ladder represents - a grim Kafkaesque climb that could cripple our relationships."
"Most women don't think they get enough support for flexibility where they work and worry that if they do work flexibly it will make them appear less committed."
"Generations X and Y do have a very strong work ethic, but they want more balance -- a satisfying work and personal life. And that is not just the women."
"The outlasting-the-boss game [at the office] is just one example of what happens when our priorities get muddied by our perception of someone else's priorities."
"It is surprisingly hard to turn down the noise of social and professional expectations and tune into a clear, confident, and personal definition of success. Define what YOU really want - not what others say you should want."
"What could possibly be more empowering as a woman than not just to sit at the table but also to change the way it looks, based on our own perspectives as women?"
These and many other excerpts from this book really hit home; although the book wasn't written for women in any particular field, there were many points that we could directly relate to, and made us stop and say "the architecture industry most definitely needs to evolve for the better."
Wanting a work-life balance does not mean we are lazy. Humans were not made to spend 99% of their time doing one thing. There is more to life than just computer screens and cubicles. You can be ambitious, dedicated, and invested in your job, career, or business and still want to enjoy other areas of your life.
Those who strive to do great work and enjoy a life they love don't lack what it takes, nor are they less committed - like so many naysayers like to throw out there. They are working to achieve their picture of success.
Perhaps women in leadership positions can be the ones to forge the change the industry so desperately needs; however it seems that the current state of the field is what has made it so difficult for women to make it to those top rungs of the ladder.
We encourage you to read this book on your own, and tell us your thoughts on how different points made can relate to our field! What steps do you think need to be taken in the field of architecture?
For other book recommendations, check out our Shop Books page!