International Women's Day and the built environment

The built environment sector historically has been a very male-dominated industry. While great improvements have been made towards balance, still only 31% of architects are female (ARB 2022). In construction, women represent just 14.7% of the workforce (ONS 2023).

Since people tend towards designing for their own experiences, this has created a legacy of environments that are not representative of women.

Some examples of ways this has played out in our buildings and spaces include:

  • Lack of lighting in public places that can make women feel unsafe and dissuade them from engaging with them after dark.
  • Workplaces without features that minimise the pain and discomfort associated with menstruation and menopause.
  • Urban spaces that don’t celebrate women in statues, road names, or public art.

It is why increasing representation of women (and diversity in every way) among built environment professionals and decision makers is so important. Combined with ensuring that diverse lived experiences are systematically brought into the design process through frameworks like the Inclusive Design Overlay.

Group shot of Motionspot team smiling in front of the Motionspot logo in their design studio
Motionspot’s team comprises 60% women. It is a balance we know we have to be conscious to safeguard – entailing ongoing commitments to removing barriers to entry and progression in ways that include everyone.

The theme of this year’s international women’s day is #InvestInWomen. Every day we work with our clients to engage with different lived experiences and to understand how designing the built environment more inclusively can help to recruit and retain the best talent and attract the widest customer base. For example, in our recent research, we found that 48% of workplaces lacked the features that would minimise pain and discomfort associated with menstruation and menopause. Sharing insight, challenging unconscious bias, and supporting businesses to make improvements is central to what we do every single day.

To speak to our team about designing more inclusively, reach out to us at



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