The Gendering of Space

Title: The Gendering of Space: Women, Space, and Feminist Theory in Contemporary Architecture

Author: Bonnie Jackson

Year: 2019

Abstract: The last century has seen drastic changes to the roles women are permitted and afforded within society, yet discourse on gender in an architectural context only began within the last 50 years.
Scholars have noted how the built environment acted hand-in-hand with social constructs to create or consolidate traditional gender roles such as ‘the housewife’ or ‘the breadwinner’. Contemporary architecture displays little progression past tropes like ‘the home / suburbs’ and ‘the skyscraper / city’, and fails to meet or consider the needs of women today. This essay argues that such problems begin within architectural education, becoming further evident within architectural practice where the gender gap ensures that the built environment predominately still reflects the design ideas of ‘the white male’, failing to adequately consider or reflect the needs of minorities. Suggesting a need for a radical re-evaluation (originating from feminist theory) within all areas of architectural education and practice to diversify the type of architects within the field, this essay examines a range of feminist thought, architectural pedagogy and progressive practice. It contains the hope of a future built environment that is designed to be more inclusive and free of gender disparity, in a society able to move towards that which is post-gender and accessible for all.

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