Women's Architectural League (1981)
In 1981 our Board discussed the possibility of asking a few architects’ wives if they would be interested in organizing a “Home Tour” with the possibility of organizing a Women’s Architectural League in the future. Although the subject matter continued to be discussed in meetings under the topic of public awareness, there is no evidence of the league actually forming.
The idea of a Women’s Architectural League (WAL) was pioneered in California in the early 1940s at the request of an AIA group. Their aim was to foster greater public interest in, and the promotion of, architecture. By 1952 there were 10 chapters throughout the United States. Typical activities included touring houses, hosting AIA conventions, and fundraising for scholarships.
Membership was opened to include women outside the architectural field who were interested in learning about architecture. Members of WAL would volunteer to organize monthly tours of buildings and other sites of architectural interest. Tours included exceptional houses, museums, libraries, churches, hospitals, schools, industrial buildings and gardens.
In 1981 our chapter was composed of all male members. Today women not only make up 15% of our membership but they hold important positions on our board. Our current president, Jeannie Bertolaccini, is the latest example. Times have changed. There is an opportunity for this type of organization to evolve as well. To not only continue the good work it set out to do originally but also become a voice for female architects in our chapter; to help our chapter better understand and better server all its members. It’s time to bring this type of organization to the Golden Empire.