Challenges Faced By Working Women

Shivani Khanna, Co-Founder and Principal Architect at Studio Crypt holds vast experience as an institutional and residential architect. Known for directing an environmentally conscious architectural practice, she ensures to deliver aesthetically versatile and overwhelming yet humble architectural spaces being mindful of sustainability and understated luxury.

Women by nature are perfectionists. The growing confidence of employee boards across various sectors, to hire more women is proof of the same. Evolved conversations about women and their equal presence & payroll at the workplace have been conspicuous since the mid-2010s. What made practical solutions come to life was the year 2020 and the fateful pan-global shut-downs. The global pandemic taught people to learn to be able to function without being physically present at the workplace. The concept of maternity leaves and work from home for new mothers was a major deterring factor in hiring women, which got trashed in the new normal way of life. With the lockdown prevailing across the world, work processes had to be streamlined irrespective of gender. This idea demonstrated equal opportunities for participation while ascertaining that qualitative work can be achieved even through remote presence. Sadly, it took a pandemic to demonstrate this possibility and the fact that the workforce can be productive even if they are expectant or new mothers.

Studio Crypt- Gurugram has always been sensitive to the rudimentary issues faced by working women. Shivani Khanna, Co-Founder, and Principal Architect at Studio Crypt believe that women are the real architects of society. She is an avid admirer of note-worthy women architects such as Anupama Kundoo and Brinda Somaya. She also feels that year 2020 was fortunate in terms of seeing women take center- stage at prime leadership levels, both Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Arden and Vice President of the U.S.A. Kamala Harris is at the helm of inspiring positions. This year also saw the duo Yvonne Farrell & Shelley McNamara grab the Pritzker Architecture prize, putting women back into the game after Zaha Hadid was last awarded in 2004. 

Most complaints of improper or misogynist behavior in the sphere of architecture workplace come from the board-room or a client or the site, where loose talk and misconduct are discreet but highly prevalent. Fortunately, several studio practices recognize these malpractices and still push women into tough terrains and equal battlefields, affirming that it is all about knowledge and not gender. It is at a construction site, where one may see live examples of women and their resilience. 

Many may not have noticed that the most enduring job of manually transporting bricks from storage to the area of construction is usually designated to women. The men have it easy, to brick by brick construct a straight wall. It is the women who have to walk hundreds of barefoot rounds with heavyweight bricks in tow, sometimes between multiple floors, enabling the whole building industry.

With the world evolving and the play-field recognizing the contributions of women, the future appears more welcoming. The need of the hour is to understand that it is not supposed to be a war. It is about understanding and respect for each other as peers. The day men consider women as comrades in the work arena, will be the day we witness real development.