HomeGender Dynamics and Practices in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture

Gender Dynamics and Practices in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture

Dynamiques de genre et métiers de l’architecture, de l’urbanisme et du paysage

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Published on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 by Céline Guilleux


In France, as in several other countries, the professions of architect, urban planner and landscape architect have crossed a historic threshold in terms of feminization. However, numerical parity does not mean men and women have equal professional opportunities: numerous demands of feminist associations remain unsatisfied. They note the persistence of many professional inequalities: in terms of income, in terms of financial control and job insecurity, in terms of visibility, and in terms of recognition. This call for papers aims to gather contributions for an assessment of the gains and limits of feminization and gender dynamics at work in the professional worlds of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture in France, fifty years after the "massive" entry of women into architecture schools in 1968. 


Paris, 4-5 June 2020


In France, as in several other countries, the professions of architect, urban planner and landscape architect have crossed a historic threshold in terms of feminization. The majority of students in architectural schools have been women since 2004[1] and now account for 50% of new members[2] and 29% of all members of the national Ordre des Architectes. It took nearly a century to reach this level of gender parity. Urban planning programmes and institutions have had a similar gender evolution, although the development cannot be assessed with the same precision. According to the Conseil National des Jeunes Urbanistes, women now make up 64% of graduates[3]. A look at the trends in enrollment at the École des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris reveals that movement towards parity was slight until the mid-1990s, but since then has been increasingly consistent and significant. Between 2005 and 2016, women accounted for 40% of those enrolled in that institution, which is more than ten points higher than the average for all engineering schools[4]. For landscape architects, there is little information on the situation in France, but data from abroad shows a similar progression; in Australia, for example, the proportion of women in the profession has grown from 42% in 2001 to 47% in 2016, while the percentage of women graduating during this period has also increased to 60%[5].

However, numerical parity does not mean men and women have equal professional opportunities: numerous demands of feminist associations (in France, Architectuelles Hauts-de-France, Arvha, Mémo, Women in architecture France) remain unsatisfied. They note the persistence of many professional inequalities: in terms of income (the income gap between men and women architects is 41% on average[6]), in terms of financial control and job insecurity, in terms of visibility (in the media, sites of dissemination of urban culture), and in terms of recognition (awards, etc.).

This call for papers aims to gather contributions for an assessment of the gains and limits of feminization and gender dynamics at work in the professional worlds of architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture in France, fifty years after the "massive" entry of women into architecture schools in 1968. It invites contributors to scrutinize, discuss, share data and analyse the modalities, temporalities, and effects of the social and historical process of transformation of gender relations and, more broadly, of power relations (based on race, social class, etc.) with an intersectional perspective.

Research on female participation in architectural schools and about certain figures of architecture, was initiated by historians and sociologists and has advanced mainly since the beginning of the 2000s. The first gendered analyses of career paths and workplace conditions were developed at the same time. However, research concerning France remains scattered and relatively unrecognized, compared to the rich scholarship abroad that deals with the subject. Since the publication of Women in American Architecture: a Historic and Contemporary Perspective in 1977, on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition in the United States, further publications, especially from Great Britain and Canada, and numerous scholarly works and events have led to the emergence of a large body of scholarly literature. Incentive programs such as MoMoWo (Women's Creativity since the Modern Movement) have initiated a research dynamic throughout Europe.

This colloquium, focusing on the period 2000-2020 and the French situation, aims to situate itself in this international dynamic. It is open to a diversity of international disciplines (architecture, history, engineering, landscape architecture, sociology, ethnology, urbanism ...) which might shed light on issues of gender in these professional domains. It may lead to the formulation of a collective research project and is divided into three lines of approach:

Axis 1: teaching architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture and the prism of gender

The first axis of reflection concerns the teaching, in France, of architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture, but also related disciplines, such as interior design or construction engineering.

This axis also intends to examine the profiles and motivations of students, the practices of instructors, and the policies of institutions (schools of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism...).

Issues that might be addressed include the reception of women, in what ways women are considered and invested in their training, and the changes brought about by their presence or the modification of sex ratios, the explicitly or implicitly gendered content of teaching, the organization of studies, and the expectations of teachers.

Axis 2: Effects of feminization on professional practices

The second axis proposes to question the gender distribution of the modes of practice (professional / associate / employee / partner / principal ...) and professional practices developed since the end of the 20th century in France in architecture, urbanism, and landscape architecture.

Have women been integrated into particular spheres of activity over this period?

Are we witnessing, in the 21st century, a homogenization of the modes of practice between men and women?

What activities are being developed by architects who are registered or not registered with the Ordre des architectes?

Were women, during this period, important agents of the "diversification of the trades of architecture" and planning? How does the re-reading of these professions through the lens of gender make it possible to question their forms?

Factors influencing the determination of professional careers, as well as issues related to the articulation of private and professional lives, can be discussed, particularly from the point of view of domestic constraints and the sexual division of work in the family sphere.

This axis of reflection may include studies on a specific professional practice.

Axis 3: State of knowledge and analytical frameworks

The third axis proposes a reflexive look at existing research, in France and abroad, and to question socio-historical notions or concepts of the feminization of different professions. In doing so, it is necessary to report on the approaches and methods put in place to problematize the unity of the category, "women", to identify its fault lines and to initiate an approach based on differences within sex and the social constructions that create them. (Maruani, 2001, p.51).

What is the research work in this area? Which professions are being studied? What are the common historiographical difficulties (rarity or weaknesses of archival sources, active married women not counted as working women, changes of surnames, pseudonyms ...)?

To what extent do these analytical frameworks allow us to inform the processes we are studying? What new conceptual articulations can be imagined to decipher contemporary situations? What are the common sites of inequalities and disparities that allow a global understanding of the mechanisms of power?

To what extent are foreign case studies on the gender dimensions of architecture and urban planning transposable or adaptable to the conditions and developments of practice in the French context?

Submission guidelines

Abstracts should include:

  • Full name of the author(s)
  • Discipline and affiliation (institution, laboratory)
  • Contact details
  • Title – n° Axis (proposal)
  • Abstract (between 3000 and 5000 signs with spaces). All proposals should include relevant citations to sources/documents and explain the methodology developed.
  • Main bibliographic references

The proposal should be written in the language of the author’s choice (English or French).

Papers must be submitted in their original file format as .doc, .docx, .rtf files and must be entitled “LAST NAME”.

PhD students and young researchers are particularly encouraged to submit a proposal: special attention will be paid to their papers.

Please send your proposals and contact details to:  isabelle.grudet@paris-lavillette.archi.fr and let.secretariat@gmail.com

Organizing committee

  • Stéphanie Bouysse-Mesnage, architecte, MCFA à l’Ensa de Nantes, doctorante à l’équipe d’accueil ARCHE de l’Université de Strasbourg et membre associée de l’équipe AHTTEP (UMR Ausser) de l’Ensa Paris-La Villette.
  • Stéphanie Dadour, docteure en architecture, MCF à l’Ensa de Grenoble et chercheure au laboratoire MHAevt, associée au laboratoire ACS (UMR Ausser) de l’Ensa Paris-Malaquais.
  • Isabelle Grudet, architecte DPLG, docteure en architecture, IR du Ministère de la culture, responsable scientifique du Let (UMR Lavue) de l’Ensa de Paris-La Villette (HESAM-Université).
  • Anne Labroille, architecte DPLG, urbaniste, MCFA du Master urbanisme et aménagement de Paris Nanterre, associée au Let et co-fondatrice de MéMO.
  • Elise Macaire, architecte DPLG et sociologue, docteure en architecture, MCF à l’Ensa de Paris-La Villette et membre du Let, co-responsable du réseau RAMAU.

Scientific committee

  • Lucile Biarrotte, doctorante en urbanisme, Lab'Urba, Université Paris Est, membre du groupe transversal JEDI, cofondatrice de l'atelier de jeunes chercheur.e.s GenrEspace et créatrice de la liste de diffusion UrbaGenre. Membre du GenderHub d'ONU Habitat.
  • Véronique Biau, architecte-urbaniste en chef de l’État, HDR en aménagement-urbanisme, Let (UMR Lavue) Ensa Paris-La Villette, HESAM-Université, co-responsable du réseau RAMAU.
  • Karen Bowie, historienne de l’architecture et de la ville, professeure Ensa Paris-La-Villette, AHTTEP (UMR Ausser).
  • Pierre Chabard, architecte, historien, critique d’architecture, MCF Ensa Paris-La-Villette, chercheur AHTTEP (UMR Ausser).
  • Olivier Chadoin, sociologue, MCF Ensap Bordeaux, HDR, chercheur au CED et au laboratoire PAVE.
  • Anne-Marie Châtelet, professeure d'histoire et de culture architecturales Ensa Strasbourg, Membre EA3400-ARCHE Université de Strasbourg.
  • Caterina Franchini, docteure en Histoire et Critique du Patrimoine architectural, maître en Conservation (RLICC), qualifiée aux fonctions de professeur associé, chargée de recherche et d’enseignement (Politecnico di Torino), coordinatrice du projet européen MoMoWo Women’s creativity since the Modern Movement (2014-18, Project Leader E. Garda), advisor editor de la Global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture.
  • Charles Gadea, professeur de sociologie, Université Paris Nanterre, membre de l'IDHES (UMR 8533), responsable du réseau thématique 1 (Travail, savoirs et professions) de l’AFS, co-responsable du comité de recherche 32 de l’AISLF, co-animateur du groupe transversal "Métiers de la ville" du Labex Futurs urbains, membre du bureau du MAGE et ancien président du RC 52 (Sociology of Professional groups) de l’ISA. 
  • Elise Koering, MCFA à l’Ensa Strasbourg, chercheure au LACTH (Ensap Lille), assistante de recherche à l'USIAS.
  • Nathalie Lapeyre, sociologue, professeure des universités, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, CERTOP CNRS UMR 5044, co-directrice du MAGE et du Réseau de recherche ARPEGE/Genre-Toulouse.
  • Nicky Le Feuvre, professeure de sociologie du travail à l’Université de Lausanne (Vice-doyenne en charge de l’égalité à la Faculté des Sciences sociales et politiques), co - directrice du programme Gender, Mobility & Occupations du Pôle national de recherche LIVES et pilote du projet DAISIE (Dynamics of Accumulated Inequality for Seniors in Employment) du programme européen NORFACE-DIAL.
  • Catherine Marry, sociologue, directrice de recherche émérite au CNRS, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, Paris.
  • Delphine Naudier, sociologue, directrice de recherche au CNRS, CSU-Cresppa/CNRS-Paris 8 (UMR 7217).
  • Frédérique Patureau, chargée d’études au Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques (Deps) du Ministère de la Culture.
  • Rebecca Rogers, historienne, professeure, Université de Paris, UMR 8070 Cerlis, membre du comité de pilotage de la Cité du Genre-USPC, membre des comités de rédaction de Femmes, Genre, Histoire et Histoire de l’éducation.
  • Corinne Sadokh, architecte DPLG, MCF, chercheuse au LRA (Laboratoire de Recherche en Architecture, Ensa Toulouse), Membre du Conseil scientifique du RAMAU.


  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: 15th October 2019

  • Notification of papers acceptance: 15th December 2019
  • Deadline for submission of articles (presentations should not exceed 20min): 15th March 2020
  • International Colloquium, Paris: 4-5th June 2020

Colloquium papers (presentations) will be available during the colloquium: authors will have, before the colloquium, an exchange with session chairs.

Peer-reviewed articles, based on a selection of presentations, will be published after the colloquium.


[1] Today, women represent 57% of the student population and, since 2006, make up the majority of those who acquired a credential known as HMONP (Habilitation à la Maîtrise d’Oeuvre en Nom Propre).

[2] The threshold of new registrations was crossed in 2018.

[3] Studies published in 2014 and 2016 on the professional integration of female urban planners. CNJU. 2018. « L’insertion professionnelle des jeunes urbanistes diplômés : l’intégralité des résultats de la 4ème enquête nationale du CNJU ». Collectif national des jeunes urbanistes (blog). 7 novembre 2018. www.jeunes-urbanistes.fr/?p=3289.

CNJU, et APERAU. 2014. « L’insertion professionnelle des jeunes urbanistes diplômés : état des lieux en 2014 ». Conseil National des Jeunes Urbanistes. www.jeunes-urbanistes.fr/?p=2541.

[4] Biarrotte, Lucile. Upcoming. « (Dé)genrer l’urbaniste. Cultures et organisations de genre dans les milieux de l’urbanisme en France (1919-2019) ». Thèse de doctorat, Paris: Université Paris Est. www.theses.fr/s142583 ; Darmon, Karine. 2017. « Ingénieur-E-s : combien êtes-vous, les filles ? » Studyrama Grandes Ecoles, 23 mars 2017. https://grandes-ecoles.studyrama.com/ecoles-d-ingenieurs/choisir-son-ecole/ingenieur-au-feminin/ingenieur-e-s-combien-etes-vous-les-filles-1787.html.

[5] https://www.aila.org.au//imis_prod/documents/Census%20Report%20-%20Women%20in%20Landscape%20Architecture_Dec%202018.pdf

[6] Ordre des architectes, Archigraphie 2018, p. 49


  • ADAMS Annmarie, TANCRED Peta, Designing women: gender and the architectural profession, Toronto, Canada, University of Toronto Press, 2000
  • CHADOIN Olivier, Être architecte : les vertus de l’indétermination : une sociologie du travail professionnel, Limoges, France, Pulim, 2013
  • DARLING Elizabeth, WALKER Lynne (eds.), AA women in architecture, 1917-2017, London, Royaume-Uni de Grande-Bretagne et d’Irlande du Nord, AA Publications, 2017
  • DIDIER Béatrice, FOUQUE Antoinette, CALLE-GRUBER Mireille (dir.), Le dictionnaire universel des créatrices, Paris, France, Des femmes-Antoinette Fouque, 2013, 3 vol.
  • GINSBURGER Nicolas, « Les premières géographes universitaires en France : enquête sur les débuts d’une féminisation disciplinaire (1913-1928) », Cybergeo : European Journal of Geography[En ligne], Epistémologie, Histoire de la Géographie, Didactique, document 734, mis en ligne le 09 septembre 2015, consulté le 18 juillet 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/cybergeo/27138 ; DOI : 10.4000/cybergeo.27138
  • GREED Clara, Women and Planning: Creating Gendered Realities, London, New York, Routledge, 1994
  • HENDLER Sue, MARKOVICH Julia, I Was the Only Woman: Women and Planning in Canada, Vancouver, Toronto, University of British Columbia Press, 2017
  • LAPEYRE Nathalie, Les professions face aux enjeux de la féminisation, Toulouse, France, Octares, 2006
  • MOUCHEL Lydie, Femmes architectes « une histoire à écrire », DEA Histoire socio-culturelle, Université de Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines, s.l., 2000


  • Paris, France (75)


  • Tuesday, October 15, 2019


  • genre, métier, architecture, urbanisme, paysage


  • Isabelle Grudet
    courriel : isabelle [dot] grudet [at] paris-lavillette [dot] archi [dot] fr
  • Secrétariat du LET
    courriel : let [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Elise Macaire
    courriel : elise [dot] macaire [at] paris-lavillette [dot] archi [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Gender Dynamics and Practices in Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, https://calenda.org/665134

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