DJC Green Building Blog

Making the “female macho.” It’s a question of balance, not a greener gender

Posted on April 8, 2008

According to a host of female leaders in Seattle's green building industry, the answer to the question "is one sex greener?" is categorically "no."

It's not a question of a greener gender, panelists at the ReGeneration Conference said yesterday. Instead it's a question of balancing the male and female parts of your brain, self and work to create a better designed building.

Now take a breath those of you who are skeptical, this is rooted in experience, not self-help books.

Basically, panelists said the black and white, concrete, don't fail way of living and designing isn't working and especially won't work with green building as sustainable design requires an integrative approach. Lucia Athens of the Seattle Green Building Team said, "I don't feel that there is a greener gender but we do live in a time where things have gotten out of balance."

For a fun diversion, see how male or female your brain is by clicking here.

Speakers did call out the differences between men and women. Anne Schopf of Mahlum in Seattle said, "As women, we may design more in experiences and places and I see the men designing more objects and thinking more about the technologies."

Right, wrong? What do you think about Schopf's observation? Another thing Schopf said struck me: as she progressed up the architecture career ladder, she had many great mentors but none of them were women.

Ladies, was this your experience also? Did you only have male mentors or were you mentored by woman? Are you mentoring young architects now? And are there any men out there that were mentored by women? What was your experience, either here in the Pacific Northwest or elsewhere?

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Women and men, is one sex greener?

Posted on April 4, 2008

Women and men are constantly compared to each other with touchy results (look no further than the race for the Democratic nomination for proof) and sustainability is no different. So what does this mean in Seattle? A panel at the AIA's ReGeneration conference Monday will try to find out.

What do you think? Is one gender more prone to green living, building and working? Or are both perfectly equal?

The "Women in Green panel" from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Monday will bravely delve into the subject of gender and sustainability. Here in Seattle, there's no question that many of the brightest (and most powerful) green minds are women. Four of them - Anne Schopf of Mahlum, Lucia Athens of the city of Seattle's Green Building Program, Amanda Sturgeon of Perkins + Will, and Judith Heerwagen, an environmental psychologist, will flesh out the issue.

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