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Male dominance in urban planning debate

luckless pedestrian

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omg what a coincidence as I recently was mansplained by a retired male planner who also said that one of the nameless projects I am working on will likely fail because the leading agents are female - it was flabbergasting
 

gtpeach

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1,858
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More men are in planning generally. I am not sure what is being asked of men here. Men are condescending to women...and they are to other men as well. Its not a game, its tough.

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2017/08/17/confronting-male-dominance-in-the-urban-planning-debate/
Maybe you could try to encourage men not to be condescending? To women or each other? And to be aware when women are being treated poorly and their skills and feedback is being undermined. It's not really nuclear physics. The things you can do to address it are pretty simple.
 

Hawkeye66

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Some women handle it well. You know, after 17 year of this, I have a skin that is more or less concrete. Its an essential skill to a long career in the public realm.
 

gtpeach

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Some women handle it well. You know, after 17 year of this, I have a skin that is more or less concrete. Its an essential skill to a long career in the public realm.
This is just really dismissive. I'm not saying my skin is thick or thin. I handle conflict pretty well, and yes, that is part of the job. But it shouldn't be an issue with our own colleagues. People can disagree without being rude or condescending. Part of the reason we acknowledge that these behaviors exist is so we can work to correct them.
 

Hawkeye66

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Well, its like asking why does a Crocodile do what it does. We are what we are, Sorry, there really isn't a better answer. I guess I don't mind if peers are gonna rake me over the coals. So be it.
 

Wannaplan?

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Well, its like asking why does a Crocodile do what it does. We are what we are, Sorry, there really isn't a better answer.
So, you're from the "Boys will be boys," school of thought. And maybe that genes dictate destiny?

I appreciate that you shared an article exposing a female perspective on men in the field. It's a damning perspective, in my opinion. It's also a fresh perspective in the sense that, as a man, when at planning conferences and at social functions with fellow planners, I've often noticed that it's the men with the forceful opinions, with a melange of ideas, and such decisive views on how the world works. It's often felt to me like a neverending stream of words. I do hope that this article can start a productive dialogue as I am from the school of thought that people can change, and that men in planning can turn their brain-spigot off every once in awhile and be more respectful to women and their words and ideas.
 

JNA

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45
2016 APA salary survey

58% male out of 9709 survey responses being US full-time year-round planners.
 

Hawkeye66

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So, you're from the "Boys will be boys," school of thought. And maybe that genes dictate destiny?

I appreciate that you shared an article exposing a female perspective on men in the field. It's a damning perspective, in my opinion. It's also a fresh perspective in the sense that, as a man, when at planning conferences and at social functions with fellow planners, I've often noticed that it's the men with the forceful opinions, with a melange of ideas, and such decisive views on how the world works. It's often felt to me like a neverending stream of words. I do hope that this article can start a productive dialogue as I am from the school of thought that people can change, and that men in planning can turn their brain-spigot off every once in awhile and be more respectful to women and their words and ideas.
I am respectful to them at work. I treat them just like I would a man. I try to keep people genderless at work to the extent I can. Its funny since I have mentored two young women who have gone on to good jobs and are having good careers. But yeah, its a tough career. It requires being tough. Ideas get big scrutiny and get ripped at times frankly.
 

gtpeach

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I am respectful to them at work. I treat them just like I would a man. I try to keep people genderless at work to the extent I can. Its funny since I have mentored two young women who have gone on to good jobs and are having good careers. But yeah, its a tough career. It requires being tough. Ideas get big scrutiny and get ripped at times frankly.
Part of the issue here is that the way men respond and treat issues is what's considered the norm. I think one thing that would go a long way to helping create a more balanced dynamic is to understand and work on accepting that more "feminine" ways of handling situations or approaching problem-solving isn't necessarily softer or less effective - it's just different than what has been the standard expectation in male-dominated workplaces. It's an important part of our jobs to make sure that different voices are heard and considered besides just the ones that are loudest.
 

luckless pedestrian

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I have weathered a lot of crap over the years - but what is bat-$%^& crazy is when someone disagrees with me for the simple fact I am female so don't assume if a woman complains about how tough it is that it's because she is not tough enough, we just don't like being disagreed with because we are female - even if they disagree for other bat-$%^& crazy other reasons, that's fine but not becasue I am a woman, that's insane in 2017.

don't be a :trollface:

where is dobopoq lol
 

Hawkeye66

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386
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I have weathered a lot of crap over the years - but what is bat-$%^& crazy is when someone disagrees with me for the simple fact I am female so don't assume if a woman complains about how tough it is that it's because she is not tough enough, we just don't like being disagreed with because we are female - even if they disagree for other bat-$%^& crazy other reasons, that's fine but not becasue I am a woman, that's insane in 2017.

don't be a :trollface:

where is dobopoq lol
So how can you tell the motive for disagreement? Are they saying "You are a woman, so you are full of it"?
 

mercdude

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233
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Well here in touchy-feely CA, the public (planning) realm seems to be dis-proportionality ran by women. If you're a woman, and a minority woman, then management has your name on it. It's a simple case of over-reaction due to years of male dominance and abuse + a reaction to the (still) prevalent male dominance in the private sector. All of that has merit, but the shoe is on the other foot here - if you're a man, you have to talk/walk like a woman around the office in order to survive (OMG, how many times can I BS with my boss about her cats!). So worry not, injustice is everywhere and it's prevalent on both sides of the coin.
 

luckless pedestrian

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Well here in touchy-feely CA, the public (planning) realm seems to be dis-proportionality ran by women. If you're a woman, and a minority woman, then management has your name on it. It's a simple case of over-reaction due to years of male dominance and abuse + a reaction to the (still) prevalent male dominance in the private sector. All of that has merit, but the shoe is on the other foot here - if you're a man, you have to talk/walk like a woman around the office in order to survive (OMG, how many times can I BS with my boss about her cats!). So worry not, injustice is everywhere and it's prevalent on both sides of the coin.
Well I have had to BS about baseball for many years so I get it - if it's Patriot's, I can keep up, but other sports, not so much
 

mercdude

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Funny (true) story: boss was talking about cats with some of us (gag), older guy walks up and casually mentions he doesn't like cats. Immediately gets my boss's attention. Guy says, yeah my wife makes me trap them and put them out in the fields away from our house because they bother us. Side note: that's basically an automatic death sentence from what I can tell. My boss glares at the guy and then makes a comment about why did she decide to hire him. I still laugh about that one - talk about not reading the room!

Another example: I have a louder voice and it gets noticed often because I'm one of the only guys that talks in the office - yes, heaven forbid that I answer my phone and talk to a project engineer about their planning issues instead of just emailing. Anyways, because I'm talking in my normal voice it 'disturbs' the office. I've had a lot of talking-to's about just having work-related conversations. If the shoe were only on the other foot: um, sorry your female voice is just too annoying to listen to, I prefer it if you would take any conversations to a conference room. (!!!)

Sorry, I'm ranting. :) Point is, work/people suck and are prejudice for lots of reasons: age, sex, education, voice tone?, whatever.
 

michaelskis

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2016 APA salary survey

58% male out of 9709 survey responses being US full-time year-round planners.
In talking with a couple of female interns from different schools, most of the people in their programs are female... as much as a 2:1 margin.
 

mercdude

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Its the same with Landscape Architecture programs, about 2:1 (f-m) ratio. But the same statistics result: more males in the industry than females. Obviously there's a disconnect and either the stats are junk; or, (what I think), women tend to burn out faster and/or are more adept at finding other, equally lucrative/enjoyable work so they just move-on from the industry and never look back.
 

Suburb Repairman

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I think a lot of that has to do with active recruiting into the professions. APA & ASLA a couple decades ago started putting forth efforts to recruit women into the professions, along with several of the universities. For efforts like that, it usually takes a couple of decades for it to show up in workplace statistics.

There have been similar efforts begun with minority recruitment, and it has a similar ratio beginning to show up (higher representation in academic programs compared to workplace).

I do know two women that have left the planning profession. Both were for the same reason... after about a decade, they got sick of CONSTANTLY dealing with sexist behavior primarily from customers.
 

Hawkeye66

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Well I am not a pure planner by trade, its one hat I wear. I can say that in the administrative profession we are seeing more women come in the millenial age group. Not as many Boomer or Xer (Like me) women. Really noticeable at our conferences and stuff in the last five years I would say as the boomers retire.
 

mercdude

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I'm riding the X'er / Y'er divide and I've finished two master programs: planning and land. arch, both were dominated by women not only as students but as instructors. I also found that women in my cohort tended to find initial employment easier than their male counterparts, yet somehow men are still dominating the workforce (?). Something doesn't jive; because, like I said before, my experience here in CA is that the public sector is packed with women.

Side note: try looking at urban dictionary for 'mansplaining', I literally laughed out loud at some of the definitions and examples.
 

rickster

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Well here in touchy-feely CA, the public (planning) realm seems to be dis-proportionality ran by women. If you're a woman, and a minority woman, then management has your name on it. It's a simple case of over-reaction due to years of male dominance and abuse + a reaction to the (still) prevalent male dominance in the private sector. All of that has merit, but the shoe is on the other foot here - if you're a man, you have to talk/walk like a woman around the office in order to survive (OMG, how many times can I BS with my boss about her cats!). So worry not, injustice is everywhere and it's prevalent on both sides of the coin.
In my new gig, I am the only white male planner on my floor. And i estimate men are out numbered 2:1. I guess I can't use my white male privilege any more?

It feels weird to be the minority for once in my life. But at least I am one of the taller people, so that helps.
 

mercdude

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233
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Well if you can't use it So Cal, then where can you?! :) All joking aside, seriously, lots of women in planning.
 

imaplanner

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I've worked up and down the west coast and my perception is that there are generally more women planners than men, or at least a close split. Much more men in top leader roles however, but I am interviewing next week with a very large department run by a woman.
 

Dan

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Generation Xer and progressive liberal checking in.

I'm not a fan of the term "mansplaining". It's associating a behavior that isn't unique to one gender with men. Why not call it what it is -- being condescending. That being said, I'm trying to be more self-aware of when I use a gendered term to describe some behavior that's not unique to men or women, like "bitch" to mean "complain".

I'd like to see more women represent the higher echelons of the planning profession, and an end to the sexism that's out there among our peers. However, I think it's insulting if women get called out for their gender, just for doing their jobs. "Women can plan too!" Well, no kidding. It's no different than saying a black man is "a credit to his race". It's demeaning.

One troubling trend I'm seeing among younger planners -- the assumption that some older plan or project is inherently racist, even in the absence of evidence, just because white men wrote or backed it. Many assume urban planning before 2000 comprised mainly of groups of WASPs wearing suits and fedoras gathered in a room, smoking cigars behind closed doors, manically laughing as they think of new and nefarious ways to screw over people of color.

[Blueprints_spread_out_on_conference_table,_one_man_standing]_International_Center_of_Photogra...jpg

Yeah, you know they're up to no good, right? :rolleyes:

Ad hominem assumptions have no place in a profession that has been collectively committed to social and environmental justice and equity for decades. A project should be judged on its own merits; not the race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual preference of the people who worked on it.
 
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mercdude

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^ lol that's a good one.

In reality, it's inherent for every young person / professional to think that what came before can be improved/fixed/renovated - otherwise you'd have no optimism that whatever you (new person) bring to the table has value. It's something that after 7-10 years of work experience (aka you ARE the person making the plan) you realize everyone does the best with what they've been given, and maybe you aren't so unique, and what can before you isn't so bad, and maybe (just maybe) your parents weren't so dumb afterall (parent-dependent statement). It's a weird and subtle transition, but it's one that almost everyone makes, unless you end up as a politician running for elected office and then there's always something that needs to be fixed and something wrong... and guess what, YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE TO FIX IT. :)
 

DVD

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Many assume urban planning before 2000 comprised mainly of groups of people wearing suits and fedoras gathered in a room, smoking cigars behind closed doors, manically laughing.
Change WASP to people and get rid of the nefarious part and this sounds like a fun way to do planning. I would happily welcome women to this closed door session provided they enjoy cigars and wear fedoras (which I do on a regular basis).
 

Dan

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In reality, it's inherent for every young person / professional to think that what came before can be improved/fixed/renovated - otherwise you'd have no optimism that whatever you (new person) bring to the table has value]
True. I was thinking about writing a post called "[x number] of simple ways to fix your shitty small town zoning code" or something like that. A lot of these small town zoning codes are rooted in templates from the 1950s, and were considered best practice at the time. However, the result was long continuous curb cuts, oversized parking lots with no landscaping, no service area or RTU screening, strip commercial development with oversized signs, prefab metal buildings for commercial structures and churches, and on and on and on. The fresh-out-of-undergrad Dan could have written a better zoning code than those 1950s lawyers, but we learned a lot since those times.
 

mercdude

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233
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7
True, but remember the role of government was much less back then (on purpose). Even the original CEQA documents of the 1970/80s were a checkbox that said "Environmental impact: yes___ no___ maybe___" Whaaaaaaat?!
 

terraplnr

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Out of our entire department (including building, planning, admin, etc.), the 75-person staff is about 40% men and 60% women. But of our 11 supervisors, 91% are men and 9% are women (actually, there's only 1 woman supervisor). The management team is 71% men and 29% women.

Hmm. It doesn't have to be 50/50 but the supervising staff percentages does make it seem like there's some sort of bias or self-selection going on.
 

mercdude

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233
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7
Definitely some sort of bias, two ways from what I can see: hiring predominately women for entry/mid level, and then creating a glass ceiling for them. I'm not sure on the demographics of a typical planning school, but it'd bet it's close to a 50/50 gender split and that should be a pretty close representation at all levels of an organization.
 
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