A 11,000-signature strong Change.org petition is circulating on behalf of the architect Denise Scott Brown, who worked with her fellow designer husband Robert Venturi for 40 years but was curiously denied the Pritzker Prize he received 20 years ago. In the history of the $100,000 prize, it's been awarded to two partners twice, at the behest of the one designated to receive the award, but female partners have consistently been overlooked. For that matter, only two women have won it in its 34-year existence.
The petition began at Harvard when two students in the Women in Design club noticed the discrepancy. Brown's been saying since 1991 that she deserved to share the honor with Venturi. In terms of her husband's involvement with the cause, she said that he was "as brave as you could possibly expect him to be" about speaking out on her behalf, but "[they] could not afford to pass up the Pritzker Prize for the sake of our fledgling firm." So... not really very brave? No judgment!
Over the last 30 years, women have been the minority as working architects; while they excel in their academia days (one of the two female Pritzker winners says that her most talented students have been women), the figure of female working architects in America is only 16%.
It's been asserted that this is due to the correlation of the career-beginning years with childbearing ones, but it also has to do with sexism. A study in January of this year found that two-thirds of female architects in Britain have experienced gender discrimination or bullying at work, half reported being paid less than their male counterparts, and 60% said that clients didn't respect their professional authority.
Image via VSBA