Today, Lead8 celebrates International Women’s Day to recognise the remarkable achievements of women across the world. With “Balance for Better” as this year’s International Women’s Day theme, we spoke to some of our women leaders on how Lead8’s gender-balanced culture have empowered and enabled them to thrive in the world of architecture and design.
Co Founder & Executive Director
As we progress through 2019, we are proud of our continued support of women in design and architecture. I am inspired daily by the women who strive to make the most out of their work and careers every day. Those that combine business with creative savviness.
It is difficult not to be inspired by those occasions in the past year where women have come out to share their stories of emancipation and empowerment, and to celebrate their success not just as women, but as creative individuals capable of incredible achievements. Our industry, as with many others, has been noted for its male dominance, but this is not symptomatic of our profession, but rather of society at large.
Change is happening at all levels within Architecture and Design, and it is happening at a natural pace. As women continue to enter the industry, we are seeing more and more rise through the ranks and making significant contributions to this field. And while there is still a long way to go before we reach gender parity, we truly believe that progress is being made every day.
The work that we do is intrinsically collaborative. While gender can influence design, great design is not determined by gender. We are at our best when we draw upon the diversity of one another. As such, Lead8 make it a priority to foster a supportive environment, embracing inclusion and diversity, and developing leaders based on their personal attributes and capabilities. We support gender equality in the workplace, across the spectrum, from graduate students all the way to senior management.
Looking forward, Lead8 will continue to support and cultivate gender equality. This is a core tenet to developing a purpose driven culture. As our people excel so too does the studio.
This International Women’s Day, let us continue to press for continued change, but also let’s not forget how far we have come.
Don’t let history dishearten you. Rather, be the change.
Co Founder & Executive Director
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand said: “Politics is a powerful place, but it can and should be a place where power is used to build communities, and to model exactly the kinds of values we teach to our kids.”
I love this quote because I believe it is equally applicable to architecture and design; and, also because it is such a feminine perspective on society.
Architecture has always viewed its role as one of society building. To improve the built environment is to improve civic life. However, it has been well documented in recent years that the work of women in the built environment has long been overlooked — The truth of the matter is that women have been creating great cities from time immemorial.
International Women’s Day provides us all with a reason to reflect on the contributions women have made to our profession, to our personal careers and to our design studio. It is also an opportunity for us to identify new ways to create true gender equality.
I am proud to lead and be part of a design studio that is so committed to uplifting women in the profession. I sincerely believe that every single person within our studios has the opportunity to be their best selves, to create their best work, and to excel in their profession.
As we head into our 5th year of establishment, we promise to support all our staff to continue creating great work that we can all be proud of. Let’s continue to support and surprise each other in the work that we do. We’re all in this together!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Regional Director (Interiors)
I have always been personally inspired by Kazuyo Sejima for her meticulous use of natural light and glass, marble and steel to create seamless design transitions between interiors and outdoors. Being a young firm, we are blessed to be able to be progressive in our policies and to foster modern cultural practices. Lead8 has a balanced leadership team, and this translates in the work we do for our clients.
I have always felt supported in my career by Lead8, encouraging me to make my mark in this industry I love so much. International Women’s Day is an important date and a sign of our times. Gender equality and affirmative action is not an issue only for women to deal with; the men at Lead8 have stepped brilliantly up to champion change, supporting and encouraging all staff to achieve their full potential as planners, architects and designers.
|Emily WS Wong
Project Director (Interiors)
I am pleased that Lead8 chooses to support International Women’s Day. It may be only one day out of 365, but I can honestly say that we live it daily. Equality does not always mean the issue is overly emphasised, because in fact, sometimes it shouldn’t be. Our work should be the only measure of our success in our careers. Just as importantly, there is a need for a balance between work and family. As a mother of two, I am grateful that Lead8 is such a progressive employer, supporting me to do my best both as a Project Director and a mother.
When something comes naturally, it shouldn’t need to be stressed. Gender equality is a fact of life at Lead8, there are no favourites, and no victims. We are judged by the quality of our design work, and that is how it should be.
Senior Associate Director (Architecture)
International Women’s Day is a reminder for us all to help drive cultural change across our industry and profession. This is the right thing to do by society, and it also helps our studio to continue to attract the best, brightest and most creative talent, regardless of race or gender.
Having worked around the globe, I can attest to Lead8’s good example of a design studio supporting gender equality across the organisational structure. I have personally always felt supported and empowered by the studio’s efforts to create a level playing field, and will play my part in ensuring the next generation of designers get the same level of support.
Senior Associate Director (Architecture)
I am extremely proud to work for a company that acknowledges and supports women in the workforce, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. Women in Hong Kong have progressed in leaps and bounds over the past century, and social mobility has been a central element of that progress. Gender equality is good not just for women but also for society.
This cause is especially important to me as a mother of a young son and daughter. I would like to see them reach to their full potential and be recognised for their efforts without fear or favour, and without being limited by social constructs.
Associate Director (Architecture)
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the contribution that women make in every discipline of design. Despite the fact that architecture is a challenging profession for many women around the world, this did not become a setback but rather, as an encouragement to believe in myself and continue my navigation in the architecture world.
Architecture is a profession that demands passion and diversity. I’ve been fortunate to develop my career journey in Lead8’s gender-balanced and nurturing workplace environment. Its inclusive, diverse culture have empowered me to strive for my passion and future. With “Balance for Better” as this year’s International Women’s Day theme, I believe it is a great reminder that diversity and balance make a better workplace and better future for not just women, but for everyone!
Senior Interior Designer
Mention of gender inequality in the design profession can sometimes evoke extreme feelings of anger and injustice. I am happy to say that Lead8 is a bastion of women in architecture in Singapore. Being part of this wonderful young and energetic firm is refreshing and inspiring. There are very few established metaphorical hurdles and roadblocks, and this gives the studio a sense of agility. From our fearless leader and Co Founder & Executive Director in Singapore, Meeta Patel, to our junior graduate designers, women are well and truly represented and supported here. Beyond the activism often associated with this sort of thing, I believe that our gender distribution allows us to excel in the region.