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Thread: Is the planning profession dominated by one gender?

  1. #1

    Is the planning profession dominated by one gender?

    There seem to be a few professions out there that, despite some attempts to change, continue to be dominated by one gender.

    Is planning that way? (dominated by one gender, that is). I am not at all seeking a value judgment on one gender or the other. I just am curious as to what people's experiences out there are. Are the planners you work with both male and female, or mostly one or the other?

    Finally, is planning a profession where one's gender doesn't matter?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Well I have worked in three different offices and out of the 25 or so planners that I have worked with there have only been 2 female planners. I believe the planning field is a male dominated profession as of right now, but when I finished grad (University of Nebraska) school two years ago over half (14 of 26) in my class were women. I believe it is still that was now.

  3. #3
    I was just thinking about that while heating up my lunch! In our office, it's 5 women and 3 men.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I think there is a bit of a difference between metro areas and more rural locales. Rural and small places tend to have male planners. Women planners are scarce. I don't think that is due to any bias, but rather because 1) these ares tend to have older staff who have been on th ejob for many years; 2) these places tend to promote from within, and may have a person who came up from the construction trades and code enforcement, who has shifted into zoning and planning; and 3) there is a tendency for young people (new planners) to want to live in metropolitan areas, and this is more true of women than men.

    Economic development is more segregated than planning. There are definitely more men than women in that profession. The exception is downtown revitalization, where women seem to outnumber the men.
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  5. #5
         
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    I am the only femal planner in a Planning Dept of 5, and one of two women in the entire Department other than clerical staff. (The other people in this Department are building inspectors and code rnforcement officers). In college there were only two other females in most of my classes.
    Throughout this region I have noticed many more females in the planning departments, three of which are directors.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Boru's avatar
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    PLanning in Ireland was dominated by Engineers until recently. Engineers are alomst to the last man-jack of them, fellows. There was no native planning course in this country until 15 years ago, but as soon as one started the ratio of women taking the course was far higher than men.

    Example: the current MA course in Rural and Urban Planning has a class of 50. 45 are female. the current Bsc course in Spatial Planning has a class of 40 and 30+ are female. This is standard year after year. However because the engineers grabbed all of the top planning jobs during the 70's and 80's, properly qualified, let alone properly qualified women have not reached the top/ put the engineers up against a wall and shot them


    So in answer to your question its about 4:1 in favour of the girruls at the moment.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I've found that larger planning agencies tend to have more women. Why that is, I don't know. Several years ago, I had a job interview for a large city in the Southwest. Of the 10 people on the interview committee, nine were women.

    The "grass is greener" law sometimes applies. If you're a single guy and a planner for city X, your agency will be entirely male; there may be one or twowomen, but they're always older and married. Next door, in city Y, the planning department is staffed by teh hotties, most of which will be single.

    I think age is a factor, too. When I go to MPO member meetings, most board members are male. The women that are on the board, though, are quite younger. I'm sure if you sample gender in planners in their 50s, 90% will be male. In their 30s, it'll be 60% or 65% male. For those in thier 20s, there might be more of a balance. When I went to grad school in the mid-1990s, the mix was about 60% male, 40% female.
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    I often hear female planners say it is a male field, not that they could be wrong, but I have seen both genders well represented since my envolvement. I have worked for a female owned firm... I have also worked for a male boss... so whats my point... oh, yeah, I think it appears pretty level, but what do I know, I am just a dumbe male...
    Last edited by H; 29 Jun 2005 at 3:05 PM.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    We have females as the Planning manager and and prinicpal planner here. the rest of the staff is male. We did offer a position to a female a couple months back, but instead hired a male.

    This is my fiurst planning job, so my experience with the gender ratio is limited.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I think there is a bit of a difference between metro areas and more rural locales. Rural and small places tend to have male planners. Women planners are scarce.
    I agree that rural locales tend to have less women, but I'm not sure that I've found it entirely different in more urban areas. As for my rural job now, I am the one female out of 5 planners and the only female in the department that isn't clerical staff.
    But last year in an good urban planning program, the mix was better, but still not even - about 4:1 guys to gals.

    I should point out that I've never felt a disadvantage for being female. Now, being young - that's another story. I sometimes get the impression that people assume I don't know as much because I look even younger than I am. But I've never really felt it's a female thing!
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian DCBuff's avatar
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    Where I work there are three Divisions Historic: 7 women 0 men, Planning: 4 women 3 men, and Long Range: 3 women 1 man. In my experience I have come along a number of woman only or dominated offices. Maybe I am just lucky, or unlucky. I think it has to do with what you do in planning. Long range and other planning areas that are more centered on writing seem to have more women, and areas like GIS or Building seem to have more men.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Previous employer it was an all male department... With my new employer its 2 men and 6 women. A different environment than I am used to, I will say that. Some of the days can be a bit humorous to me, durning meetings. When I graduated a couple years ago there were more women then men in my classes. Maybe the profession is shifting??? I bet APA has some numbers?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    APA Website -

    "In 2004, slightly more than a third of planners (34%) are female [table 1.02], representing a significant jump from 28% in 1995"

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DCBuff
    Long range and other planning areas that are more centered on writing seem to have more women, and areas like GIS or Building seem to have more men.
    When I was in GIS school 3 years ago, the professors always said the field was 2/3 male -- and the class ratio was similar to that as well. I was the ONLY woman who routinely sat at the front of the class. One or two others sometimes sat at the front of the class. The majority occuppied the last two rows in class. I did not realize this until the last week of school, much to my disgust. Sigh.

  15. #15
         
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    My graduating class appeared to be at least 75% male. The capstone studio class was all male (except for the instructor) but by no means all masculine. If my peers were representative of other graduating planners, don't be surprised if someday soon an ambitious group of young planners develops a "Queer eye for the straight town" planning theory and model that revolutionizes the field. Feminine theory for the 21st century implemented by passionately talented designers who care.
    Last edited by pcflvly; 09 Jul 2005 at 9:04 PM. Reason: typographical error

  16. #16
    Cyburbian andreplanner's avatar
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    Shouldn't it be, is planning dominated by one race?

    Quote Originally posted by City-zen
    There seem to be a few professions out there that, despite some attempts to change, continue to be dominated by one gender.

    Is planning that way? (dominated by one gender, that is). I am not at all seeking a value judgment on one gender or the other. I just am curious as to what people's experiences out there are. Are the planners you work with both male and female, or mostly one or the other?

    Finally, is planning a profession where one's gender doesn't matter?
    Other than many of the southern states and predominantly black communities in the US, I know planning in the GTA is not reflective of the ethnic diversity this city has. So it's not only gender but it's race as well. Guess that's why I'm unemployed...

  17. #17
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    In the three planning agencies I have worked for the ratio has been at least 50% if not more female than male planners. In my current place of employment it is probably 70% females. IMO the planning profession is starting to be dominated by women.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    School of Planning that I attend is 50/50 ish. Certainly not enough difference in numbers to notice an imbalance either way.

  19. #19
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    During school the program was predominantly women (2/3), and my particular year was more like 3/4. I remember looking around in one class of 12 or so and seeing one other guy. Awesome!

    The office is probably 50-50, the director is male (but has been female) and middle management is 50-50.

    Pretty balanced I would say.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    My grad program had more women... probably 60/40. An interview I had last week for a planning job was conducted by 4 women! I looked on the city's Web site, so I know some men work there, but the department heads are all women. However, the director overall is a man. Planning seems pretty balanced to me, but it probably just depends where you are.

    Transportation or economic development, I think might have more men. Something like housing or community development, might attract more women.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally posted by andreplanner
    Other than many of the southern states and predominantly black communities in the US, I know planning in the GTA is not reflective of the ethnic diversity this city has. So it's not only gender but it's race as well. Guess that's why I'm unemployed...
    That is an excellent point and a question I have also been curious about. I guess I just figured that the race question would be much more place-specific than the gender question, although I'm beginning to think that's not necessarily the case.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Off-topic [I couldn't resist!]

    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by ibbieta
    ... the director is male (but has been female)
    WOW. Well, that's a whole different thread altogether, isn't it??
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  23. #23
    I teach one class at our local graduate school for planners and in the 3 years I've done it so far, I'd have to say it's 50-50. We've got 11 planners in our office and there's 3 women...although in the past there have been more. I work on the private sector (consulting) side of planning... I wonder if it is different than the public sector?

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