In celebration of International Women’s Day and it’s 2024 theme, #InspireInclusion, the AIANY Women in Architecture Committee combined its March Committee Meeting with an inspiring evening of networking, sisterhood, and honoring women’s history in the profession. The event keynote speaker, Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA, a prolific architect, educator, visual artist, musician and author, shared her personal history of advocacy and social justice deeply woven in the history of women’s liberation and feminist movements in NYC and around the country.

Dr. Sutton’s presentation was centered on the theme of sisterhood, illustrating how women worked together in the 1970s to illuminate each other’s achievements and contributions to the field of architecture. Historic publications and exhibitions were shared, including a manifesto published by the Alliance of Women in Architecture calling for the general elimination of gender roles in the workplace. Fellow trailblazing women in architecture were acknowledged in Dr. Sutton’s presentation, including Norma Sklarek, Denise Scott Brown and Zaha Hadid. Her presentation highlighted the strides that were made to increase the representation and recognition of women in architecture, but also the strides that remain to endorse more women in leadership roles in the profession. Dr. Sutton concluded with a call to action for women in the profession to work together as a sisterhood to continue pushing change forward.

Following her impactful presentation, we got to hear more from Dr. Sutton about the influence of her upbringing, the story behind the love of her signature color, purple, as well as what is inspiring her about the profession today in a “fireside chat”, facilitated by WIA Advisory Board Member, Angelique Pierre. An engaging audience Q&A followed.

The evening ended with networking over delicious food and drinks, and a ‘Call To Action’ to re-examine the original Alliance of Women in Architecture manifesto and to provide a 2024 refresh to address the issues facing women in the profession today.

A special thanks to Dr. Sutton for her time and inspiring energy, as well as to our gracious hosts at the AKDO NYC showroom for their seamless coordination and generosity. Thank you to all who attended and see you at the next event! The March WIA Committee meeting agenda can be found here.