Gender Equity in Landscape Architecture

The participation of women in Australian landscape architecture, mapping and strategies.

People need good data to be informed about gender equity in order to change the conversation – because gender disparity isn’t a problem that will simply go away.

Dr Gill Matthewson

In 2018, the XYX Lab joined forces with the advocacy group Parlour to provide a detailed picture of women’s participation in landscape architecture using census and other data sources. It is the first step in Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA)’s Gender Equity Project, a program of research, advocacy and action to improve gender in the field. The work is part of a wider effort by Parlour and XYX to improve gender equity in the built environment.

Dr Gill Matthewson, who is a founding member of both XYX and Parlour, analysed data from the all the Australian Censuses of the twenty-first century. The analysis reveals clear patterns in the way women, as a group, engage in landscape architecture that are quite distinct from the patterns that characterise the participation of men as a group.

One of the striking features revealed in the report is that over half of the women over the age of 35 work part-time. While this means that landscape is more amenable to part-time work than architecture (see the Parlour Census Report also by Matthewson), it is only women that appear to take advantage of this amenity. This suggests that the landscape architecture profession succumbs to wider, traditional societal pressures that see women bearing the responsibility of child raising.

The AILA Gender Equity Working Group is focusing on developing actions based in the report’s findings, using a series of recommendations provided by XYX and Parlour to guide the process. Since the report’s release in December, Matthewson has been touring and presenting the data around Australia.

Access the report here.