Women Entrepreneurs in the Modern Architectural World
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Entrepreneurship is defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business which typically begins as a small start-up company offering a product or service for sale or for hire.
There is about one woman entrepreneur for every three male entrepreneurs in the world.
As a woman entrepreneur in the architecture space we experience many ups and downs, face many challenges, have had successful ventures but most important you learn.
For a very long time, entrepreneurship has been a field dominated by men. Even though this scenario is changing, its effects can still be seen in today’s world where women entrepreneur have to face numerous challenges such as:
Lack of Trust From Clients - One of the biggest challenges that a women entrepreneur faces is the lack of trust from their clients. As unfortunate as it can be, it's still true that some people see women as weak and emotionally not as stable as men and hence when it comes to clients who have big projects to offer it's evidently mostly always given to their male counterparts.
Balancing Between Professional and Personal Life – All across the globe, women are the ones who are expected to take over the household and are burdened by the weight of expectations of her family. Owning a business requires the investment of a lot of time on a daily basis, therefore, making it difficult to find a balance between professional and personal life.
Lack of Support From Family and Friends – As there are a certain kind of expectations from women from their personal life front, it becomes even more challenging if a woman’s family is not supportive enough and is not co-operative towards her household responsibilities.
Un-Satisfaction and Un-comfortability with women as leaders – With time changing and progress emerging in the area of feminism we still encounter men feeling embarrassed and ill-fitted when they are led by a woman and not all men are comfortable in accepting a woman as their leader.
Male Dominant Construction Sites – A harsh reality that every female architect has to suffer through is having to go to site visits which majority of the times are male dominant and hence it’s sometimes not that convenient and comfortable for them to visit sites that are located in isolation or having to go to a big site alone and communicate to all the workers all by themselves.
Traveling – As women have to take care of their households, their kids, and many more such responsibilities apart from their professional tasks, having to go to another city, state or country (especially on a short notice) for their projects becomes challenging for them and they have to schedule its dates in accordance with their other responsibilities and duties.
Inconvenient Meeting Venues – Many times clients demand a meeting in venues that don’t suit women such as the client’s residence. Not considering females comfort while choosing a meeting venue can put the architect in an odd situation.
Odd Timings – one of the biggest and most common issues faced by female entrepreneurs are getting phone calls and fixing meetings during odd hours by the clients. Late night project discussions and fixing meetings during inconvenient hours of the day causes trouble for the women entrepreneurs.
However, on the contrary, it's more than eminent for women architects to start their own business and manage their firms as architecture is not only about creativity, its an accumulation and balance of a lot of other factors. As an architect working in a firm, mostly the creative talent of the individual is explored however when it comes to an architect who is starting her own firm, entrepreneurship demands many roles to be played all equally well. From people management to financial management, to sustaining their infrastructure and many such parameters that come into play all need to be taken care of and with women in practice of such versatile responsibilities already during their personal life journey it gives them an upper hand over men.
If anyone wants to start their entrepreneurship journey always remember networking is going to play the most important role in it. First and foremost the architect should enrol into some or the other networking platform like any rotary club or marathon or any business networking organization so the people out there are informed about your existence and aware of the services that you provide. Networking, consistency, willpower and good design skills are all it takes for an architectural entrepreneur to be successful.