Liverpool School of Architecture’s student-led groups host debate on why climate action needs women
Liverpool School of Architecture’s student-led groups were pleased to welcome five incredible guests on the 5th of July 2021 in an important debate on why climate action needs women. We were joined by Antionette Vermilye, Bianca Pitt, Fliss Childs, Sarah Wigglesworth MBE and Sumita Singha OBE. The guests were welcomed by our student group members: Jamie Hole and Ffion Douglas from LSA Climate Crisis, Bonnie Jackson and Philippa Mack from Femin.ae and Holly Knight-Parfitt who is a member of both. While our speakers for the event were all female, we would like to highlight how men also play a vital role in campaigning for more women leadership roles and climate action. We have listed below a few of the fantastic points raised by our guests on the four key topics.
Qn 1. Are women equally represented in leadership?
"Women are vastly underrepresented in politics and business." - Bianca Pitt
"We need to be using every single perspective in order to find the solutions to fight the climate crisis" - Antionette Vermilye
"Collaboration rather than competition" - Sarah Wigglesworth
Qn 2. Why are women more vulnerable to climate change?
"Women have been made vulnerable to climate change by men... we need to demasculinise architecture and have buildings that work with nature rather than against" - Sumita Singha
"Elephant on the Stick… much more powerful than we think" - Bianca Pitt
"We need to live more equitably together as climate change will impact everybody" - Sarah Wigglesworth
Qn 3. What are women within the Architecture industry doing to combat climate change?
"We quite like to work by example, we built several primary schools which were very green buildings where the building itself demonstrates how green buildings work and their relationship with landscape and how landscape contributes to it. They are in their own right a teaching tool" - Sarah Wigglesworth
"Women haven't been mostly responsible for the events that have led us to climate change and yet we are saying ‘What are women doing [to combat climate change]’. When what we should really be saying is ‘What are men who created the climate crisis doing’ and this idea of men and women working together, not women challenging men" - Sumita Singha
"What's really inspiring about something like LETI is the cross-disciplinary working because I think it recognises that these issues need to be joined up… It is difficult trying to make a living when the world is operating one way when you really desperately want to work in another way" - Sarah Wigglesworth
Qn 4. How can we influence change at a higher level?
"It's very difficult to push for change when people don't want to have dialogues and don't want to change their ways" - Sumita Singha
"One of the biggest responsibilities and one of the most powerful things we can do is to educate and to talk to the next generation, we have to be those leaders" -Fliss Childs
"We need to see this decade not as a decade of words but a decade of action and we need radical action... We need to stand up and speak, we need to speak truth to power and start with our own institutions, start with the RIBA… just speak up… every single voice counts" - Bianca Pitt
We encourage you all reading this to start these conversations with your classmates and your colleagues to acknowledge the inequalities that still exist in architecture and leadership in order to establish how we can move forward together to make change.
We also ask for you to help take action by signing She Changes Climate’s open letter to the UK Government, calling on them for greater accountability and transparency on male/female parity on the UK COP26 leadership team! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScVO4a_o8Lh-PShBc7r9lWPBAighzFw6UqmkKfZENtIM8u2FQ/viewform?fbzx=-5607731412216274980
For more information on our student-led groups visit: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/architecture/community/student-ledgroups/
Click here to watch a recording of the debate
"Don't wait, just do it, and that's exactly what we need to do, we need to take action into our own hands" - Bianca Pitt