Celebrating RIBA ‘Ethel Day’ at HPA! - HPA

Celebrating RIBA ‘Ethel Day’ at HPA!

Today at HPA, we are joining RIBA in celebrating the life and work of pioneering architect Ethel Mary Charles and the achievements of women in architecture around the world.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) was founded in 1834, but it was only 60 years after this that the admittance of women was permitted. The admittance of Ethel Mary Charles in 1898 marked a significant moment for both the Institute and women all over the UK. Further celebrations came when Ethel’s sister, Bessie Ada Charles, was also admitted into RIBA two years later.

Their acceptance, however, did not change the attitude of some people who believed that women did not have a place in the architectural profession. This was emphasised by a movement initiated by some existing members to remove the Charles sisters, believing ‘it would be prejudicial to the interests of the Institute to elect a lady member’. The attitudes expressed at this time help to illustrate the adversity that women architects faced in their attempts to create their own presence in the industry.

Here at HPA, we celebrate the achievements of women architects every day and are fortunate that females make up 7 out of 11 members of technical staff, including director Zoe Hooton. We believe it’s important to offer opportunities and flexibility within our office, to allow all members of staff to progress and work in a way that benefits both themselves and the practice.

Almost 120 years after Ethel Charles became the first woman architect to join the RIBA, we are currently supporting a campaign for a member of our team to be elected as a representative on the RIBA National Council. Abigail is running for Student Representative on the council for the next term, beginning in September 2017.

Further information on RIBA ‘Ethel Day’ can be found on the RIBA website.

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