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Ethos: Architecture and Motherhood

Pinch Point has emerged as a response to one critical career 'pinch point' that women working in the field of architecture face when negotiating the position of motherhood across their priority-scale.

Pinch.Point aims to expose this blind spot within the profession and delve deeper into the challenges and changes a woman's identity experiences. It centralizes the discussion around the stigmatization of motherhood in the world of architecture and highlights the importance of rendering the physical, mental, professional, and financial shifts a woman experiences during this stage in her life. During a time of such great transition, characterized by geographic or social isolation, identity transformation and new demands many women take a step back from their professional lives and find themselves struggling to reconcile the three dimensions that make up their identity as a whole - woman, mother, and architect. It's no news that women pursuing a career in architecture are particularly invested in carefully constructing an image of power, cemented in strong work ethic, loyalty, and determination. So what happens with our professional persona when motherhood comes into play along with its chaos and vulnerability? How do we find a balance and play to our new-found strengths while helping others understand we have become anything but less competent, valuable, or devoted to our craft?

Despite recent efforts to highlight and solve the issue of equity in the field of architecture, the image of the woman and her reproductive capacity continues to clash with the patriarchal model of the architect. Statistics show that even though the number of female architects has been steadily increasing across the last few decades, the number of women achieving qualification and practicing architecture experiences a dramatic drop midway through their career. Conversely, life shows us that throughout the first years of a child's growth, a considerable amount of the caregiving and responsibility still lies with the woman, stalling or often interrupting her career trajectory. All of a sudden, we are faced with the reality of having to plan out and design not only our own lives or that of the buildings we put on paper but also structure and carve out the physical and mental evolution of an entirely new human being. Once again, we are back to the drawing board with a blank canvas in front of our eyes - one that we are responsible to nurture, love, and help reach the beauty of its full potential. This time, however, there is no liner pen, scale ruler, metric handbook, or 3D program to guide us through the process.

The content on this page does not prop itself on mantras of feminism, nor is it aimed to celebrate, victimize, or reinforce the domestic identity of the mother. Its goal, however, is to acknowledge the reality of this stage in a woman's life and empower those reading to explore different ways to articulate the notion of motherhood and challenge the current cultural construction defining the identity of the mother.

Why not and how to gracefully shine a light on this event, the impact of which is so profoundly experienced by women, without domesticating their image? Is there a way to help mothers shift their perception away from that of a professional setback? How can we challenge this resistance towards the feminine and maternal in the workplace? And how can we help mothers navigate the return to work and encourage employers to support flexible schedules and opportunities for career advancement?

We believe that women have to remain part of the architectural community once they have become mothers. As a result, this platform aims to engage, stimulate, and keep the professional interest of young mothers alive by providing resources, support, and social capital. It is a place where women can find empowerment and help re-write the definition of motherhood as one that can be transformative for their experiences and understanding of this stage in their lives.


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