The Washington-based American Institute of Architects has announced plans to review the way in which the group decides on honors and award recipients in an effort to reduce gender discrimination.
In so doing, the association has signed up the powerhouse Washington law firm of Covington & Burling, LLP to review all of the procedures relating to AIA’s honors and award programs.
“Amidst a national movement to address safety, diversity, and equity in the workplace, we want to make certain we are recognizing and elevating only the very best from our profession,” William Bates, president of the AIA, said in a statement announcing the initiative.
The Covington & Burling review, to be ongoing for the rest of this year, will focus on the vetting process for future AIA honors and awards candidates.
In a press release, the AIA said that it recognizes that while “harassment occurs within the profession, it cannot be tolerated.”
To that end, all nominees submitting applications for any AIA awards must commit to showing an “unbiased treatment of all people in employment, civic, and business transactions, regardless of race, gender identity, physical abilities, or religion.”
A survey of more than 1,200 architects released late last year by the publications Architectural Record and Engineering News-Record indicated that some 66 percent of respondents said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace.
That figure increased to 85 percent when the respondents were entirely women.
By Garry Boulard
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