Celebrating International Women’s Day

In recognition of International Women’s Day — a day we reflect on the progress made by women, as well as the ongoing mahi required to achieve real cultural change — we spoke to accomplished architect and Associate Principal Marianne Riley and Project BIM Manager and Associate Monica Greco about how women are making their mark in architecture, and what advice they have for those working in the industry or considering a career in architecture and design.

Why is it still important to talk about and highlight women architects?

Marianne Riley: Recently, we’ve witnessed the vulnerability of women’s rights, despite centuries of fighting for equity around the world. Reflecting on this, it is essential to celebrate women’s accomplishments and highlight that we are still on a journey to achieve gender equity in New Zealand and around the world. 

Shining a light on successful women working in architecture reflects a welcoming and inclusive industry with a wealth of women role models. Architecture is a collective pursuit, requiring teams who excel in collaboration and kotahitangaha (unity). Women are playing an increasing role in these new ways of working together which is driving innovation in design outcomes.

How are women making a difference in the industry, and what are you looking forward to seeing more of in the future?

Marianne Riley:  At Jasmax, two-thirds of the 20–35-year-old age group identify as women, a statistic to celebrate. As we support the career advancement of this cohort, I look forward to witnessing increased collaboration throughout the industry and a rise of equal participation in the workplace across generations. Parents of young families and older people are challenging what ‘normal’ looks like in workplace culture.

Do you have any advice for women considering a career in your industry?

Monica Greco: The advice I give to myself daily is ‘don’t be afraid and believe in yourself’. Construction is still a very male-dominated industry, particularly outside of architecture. Being the only female on-site in a meeting can be daunting. However, the BIM community is very open and supportive. Plenty of women working in BIM support each other, particularly in organised networks, such as the global ‘Women in BIM’ community. I tell young technicians that by attending events or conferences and networking with like-minded people, often the greatest opportunities arise.

What are some of your career highlights?

Monica Greco: A career highlight for me must include founding the ‘Digital Users Group - New Zealand’ in 2018. This forum allows people to share their knowledge and passion for computational design and automation. Another highlight was being asked to present on the Revit Pure YouTube channel, sharing our recent innovations in BIM at Jasmax. The channel invites speakers from across the globe to contribute, so it was exciting to be among great company.

Outside of the digital sphere, I am a proud member of Jasmax’s Diversity and Inclusion Group and am currently leading Jasmax on the journey to Rainbow Tick, working towards becoming a safer and more inclusive workspace for all LGBTTQIA+ individuals.

Registered Architect and Associate Principal Marianne Riley with Project BIM Manager and Associate Monica Greco