SACAP Announces Women In Architecture South Africa (WiASA) programme

SACAP Announces Women In Architecture South Africa (WiASA) programme




The South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP) announced the launch of the ‘Women in Architecture South Africa’ (WiASA) programme. 

The announcement which coincided with Women’s Month was made by the SACAP President, YashaenLuckan at the Sophia Gray Memorial Lecture held in Bloemfontein on 27 August 2015.

WiASA seeks to actively identify opportunities for the transformation of women within the Architectural professionThe programme seeks to address Transformation within the industry which is a key objective ofSACAP.

Statistics reflect an unacceptably low level of Women in Architecture in South Africa, while the demographics of this small group of professionals highlights the extensive marginalization of Previously Disadvantaged Individuals (PDI’s).  It is this imbalance that SACAP, and specifically the WiASA programme, aims to redress. Figures available show that of a total of 8,842 Registered Professionals (RP’s), only twenty-one percent (21%) are women. Of this group, a mere 271 Professionals, or fifteen percent (15%) are considered to be PDI’s.

“There are a number of reasons for this imbalance within the Profession, ranging from cultural through to historical challenges and the perception of women in society, among others. The 4th Term Council has identified transformation as a key strategic objective and through initiatives such as WiASA aims to challenge and redress the status quo,” says Marella O’Reilly, Registrar/CEO SACAP.

WiASA is being launched this year, however the full rollout of the initiative is planned to take effect in 2016.  

Briefly, the aims of WiASA are as follows:

  • Addressing access into the profession and the entry of black women
  • Encouraging educated, qualified and skilled women to remain in the profession
  • Supporting women to build successful careers in architecture
  • Supporting the development of women owned practices

Council has appointed a special task team led by chairperson, Karuni Naidoo. 

Karuni Naidoo stated that “There is a lack of understanding with regards to women architects’ issues and the programme will ensure that these are correctly addressed. Our aim is to encourage, support, educate, develop and transform women in the profession as well as women wanting to enter the profession”.

Transformation and changing the culture within the profession, and the organisations allied to it, is a key objective ofSACAP.  WiASA aims to address these challenges by installing women into key leadership roles in order to effect change.  Furthermore, integrating gender sensitive issues into the daily operations of the Council and highlighting the needs of women, be that at the place of work, practice or organisation, will be addressed.

Karuni Naidoo added that “WiASA is set to open and enable opportunities for all women, but specifically those considered PDI’s. This is a progressive, broad and far-reaching programme and it provides a structure within which we can begin to address our needs”.