Pub. 4 2023-2024 Issue 1

Women in Architecture

As architects, we have a profound influence over our communities and the built environment. However, demographically, the gender makeup of the architectural profession does not reflect the populations we serve. In Utah, women make up less than 20% of practicing architects. NCARB and the AIA have studied gender disparity in the profession and have identified disparities along the path to licensure and within the profession that result in high attrition for women.

Women in Architecture (WIA) SLC is a local non-profit that operates towards a singular goal: gender parity in the field of architecture. We achieve that goal through three core strategies: Community, Mentoring and Advocacy.


WIA SLC provides a network that builds and supports the local community of women in the architectural field. Studies show that women make up nearly 50% of architecture students nationally. (Our local numbers are, unfortunately, lower.) Once out of school, the percentage of women that get licensed drops to below 30%, and they are entering a field where local architects are only 15% women. This limits the number of mentors and examples of women in senior leadership positions within their firms. Beyond this, the competitive culture of architecture makes it very difficult to meet and socialize with women from other firms.

WIA helps unite the community of women by hosting various events, lectures, seminars and volunteer opportunities each year. Social events such as the Partini, a New Year social and a summer family-oriented social are fun for our community to gather in a low-stress environment. The annual PechaKucha is another opportunity WIA uses to highlight the contributions of women in our community and expose young architects and licensing candidates to opportunities within the design fields.


WIA fosters mentoring opportunities between the emerging generation of women architects and established women professionals. These relationships reinforce both groups; they provide essential networking opportunities for the mentees and reinvigorate the passion of the mentors.

Each year, WIA hosts one or more formal mentoring events to provide meaningful connections between students, licensing candidates and women who have been established in the field for over a decade. WIA also partners with the University of Utah to host a yearly Professional Practice Panel discussion.


WIA SLC is committed to engaging the management of our local firms and A/E community, educating them on the value of a diverse workforce and encouraging investing in women professionals. WIA SLC also engages with other Utah women’s organizations, such as the Utah Women and Leadership Project and A Bolder Way Forward Utah.

Starting as a grassroots effort, WIA SLC was founded in 2012 by a group of women architects, Celestia Carson (VCBO), Libby Haslam (Studio LP), Greta Anderson (FFKR), Soonju Kwan (GSBS) and Christina Haas (FFKR). This group served as the founding board of directors. The board has included women across the Salt Lake architectural community and currently includes Sophia Malik (Lloyd Architects), Jinnie Lee (GSBS), Erin Carraher (UofU) and Jen Dalley (Parallel Lines). As the founding president, I have continued to serve as the organization’s president.

Ongoing advocacy and support efforts of WIA SLC include NCARB Exam fee scholarships, free access to testing study support through Black Spectacles, scholarships for women in the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Utah and introducing architecture to youth through education and community-led STEAM programs.

WIA SLC does not require official membership or dues. It is an open organization welcome to all who are interested in participating. Upcoming events are posted on social media platforms such as Instagram @womeninarchitectureslc and through a WIA mailing list. To be added to the mailing list, please send a request to

For more information, visit our website