More than an escape from everyday life, women tourists reportedly chose solo travel as a means to explore and experience new cultures, with almost two thirds (64%) saying they actually feel more confident when taking a trip on their own. Nearly two third (61%) of the respondents in the research, which queried more than 1,000 British women, said that they felt more energised and refreshed after taking a trip by themselves – over travelling with others. Social media also plays a key role in empowering women for solo tours and boosting their confidence to go on holiday by oneself. If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. As a luminary in the world of architecture, Zaha Hadid, who died on March 31, was a celebrity whose name, face and buildings are known by millions. That is not to say that there are not a great many accomplished and inspiring women in architecture. Her buildings redefined our ideas of what was possible, from the bursting energy of the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein, Germany to the undulating angles of the Guangzhou Opera House in China. As I explore in my new book Where Are the Women Architects?, role models are deeply important.

For these reasons, the scarcity of female role models in architecture can be profoundly damaging. Instead, the architecture profession needs to focus on removing the formidable barriers that continue to keep women from rising to the top.
For mixed in with the grief at Hadid’s loss is also anger among women architects who, no matter how they felt about her work, could empathize with the hostile reactions that, too often, seemed to come her way. After Hadid won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architectural journalists who might have been expected to laud her achievement instead commented negatively on her looks, clothes, ability to speak English and her talent and worthiness as a laureate. We are currently in the midst of a grassroots movement in architecture, led by many young women and men, demanding that the profession become more diverse and egalitarian. 64% said they have more freedom to be themselves when travelling alone, with 47% saying that it allows them to be a bit more selfish and do exactly what they want to do.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) keep in touch with friends and family back home while travelling, with three quarters opining that social media enables them to discover unusual places to go or find places to eat, enhancing their confidence to visit destinations on their own. The film tells the story of Jen, who very much loves her partner Brian but doesn’t necessarily love the same type of holiday as he does.

Having a personal relationship with a role model is not necessary; an effective role model may be a prominent figure in the profession or even a historical one. And the media, too, has a vitally important role to play in paying attention to the outstanding work being done by women architects around the world. Against all odds, and a great deal of prejudice, she broke one glass ceiling after another, no mean feat when that glass was as hard and thick as concrete. Role models boost self-esteem by countering negative stereotypes that cast doubt on a person’s abilities to perform well in the profession. Almost one-third of female respondents who had left the profession gave the lack of role models as the deciding factor. Journalists might also reflect on how they treated Hadid herself, who for every positive line written about her seemed to attract another two that cast doubt on her work or integrity.

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