In celebration of International women’s day, we have asked the women of SPARK to answer a few questions, their answers are printed below.

At the end of Frances McDormand’s Oscar acceptance speech at the 90th annual Academy Awards, the best actress winner said, “I have two words for you: inclusion rider.”

An inclusion rider is a reference to the belief that there should be requirements in contracts that provide for gender and racial diversity.

There is much world-wide discussion on the topic of gender and racial equality that has in many cases been driven by outrage and a resolve to correct imbalance in the workplace. The Time’s Up and #MeToo movements have become very rapidly vehicles for change.

We must all do what we can for women who are not in a position of power and privilege particularly in an industry (architecture) that is so male dominated.

It is a time to reflect and rethink. 

I recently read an article “why are there so few women in architecture” the question was posed to a number of famous male architects.

“Why are there so few women architects?”. Now, let’s turn to a man for the answer…… …………….idiots.

 Stephen Pimbley, Director of Spark

Question 01. Equality at SPARK

Do you believe that SPARK practices gender equality, if not what policies could SPARK put into place to move our studio towards that goal?

AA:  I believe that gender equality is very pivotal to the way SPARK operates and SPARK equally treats both men and women. In fact, our director is a woman, and we have many female employees that contribute to the same work as the male employees do.

XL: Spark as well as the world, practice ability equality, it has nothing to do with gender.

 WH: We are fortunate that SPARK promotes meritocracy –hiring, rewarding, and promoting the best people, based on their abilities and contribution to the studio. One simple way of practicing gender quality is not to make a big deal out of it. We want to instil confidence and encourage career aspirations in all SPARK architects—not just women!

Question 02. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus 

The above is a title from a 1970’s book about the sexes. The book states that most common relationship problems between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the sexes, which the author exemplified by means of the metaphor: that men and women are from distinct planets men from Mars and women from Venus and that each sex is acclimated to its own planet’s society and customs, but not to those of the other.If you don’t believe you are from Venus which planet are you from and why?

MW: I am from earth, because I have not been to any other planet.

XL: PLANET B612.Each person has his own planet.

ZQ:  Outerspace, think out of the box.

WH: Gender roles are prescribed by a long history of war-making patriarchal societies, and genetic predispositions which will become obsolete when homo sapiens achieve consciousness. Cognitive planetary evolution!

Question 03. MrsThatcher the first female Prime Minister of the UK famously said

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman”What is your favorite quotation by a woman?

MW: There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.—- Helena Rubinstein

AA :  I remember a quote by Sheryl Sandberg when she spoke during my graduation commencement. She said, “Finding gratitude and appreciation is the key to resilience. I learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void- you can choose joy and meaning.”

Lili:  Melinda gates “If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped.”

XJ:”When life gives you lemons, take out the salt and the shot-glasses and fill them up with tequila” By Teodora Kostova

WH: “I only argue when I know I am right which is why I am always arguing” Diane Lockhart

Question 04.The Female Eunuch is a 1970 book by Germaine Greer, an international bestseller and an important text for feminism worldwide.

Greer’s thesis was that the “traditional” family represses women sexually, and that this devalues them, rendering them eunuchs. In a recent update to the book she said“The freedom I pleaded for twenty years ago was freedom to be a person, with dignity, integrity, nobility, passion, pride that constitute personhood. Freedom to run, shout, talk loudly and sit with your knees apart. Freedom to know and love the earth and all that swims, lies, and crawls upon it…most of the women in the world are still afraid, still hungry, still mute and loaded by religion with all kinds of fetters, masked, muzzled, mutilated and beaten”

Unfortunately, in many parts of the world this is still true.

Jawaharlal Nehru, Leader of India’s Independence movement in the 1940’s said 

“You can tell the condition of a Nation by looking at the status of its Women.”

How do you feel your respective countries are supporting women to achieve their rightful place in society.

AA:  The country that I was born used to ban women to go to school and encouraged them to follow their husbands without having any options or authority. Women used to not have a right to vote, involved in politics, or even work. However, since Kartini Revolution, women are allowed to go to university and have the same rights as men. Since then, we did have female presidents and governors that are as inspiring as the male ones. I think that as long as the country gives the same opportunity and rights to women, they are already supporting women to work themselves towards success.

XL:  I feel education is one of the few ways to achieve the equality. China is supporting education anyway.

WH:  My ex-schoolmate very recently divorced her husband who forbad her from working, he believed that a woman’s place is at home with her children. It was a shocking story to hear in 2018, in Singapore. There is much traditional gender bias to overcome in many Chinese families. The Singapore government, on the other hand, is supportive of equality through Education.

Question 05. Goddess

There are many Goddesses from the “classical” world

Artemis: Goddess of the wilderness, wild animals, virginity, childbirth and the hunt.

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love and Beauty.

Athena: Goddess of crafts, strategy, wisdom, and war. Athena is also a virgin goddess.

Dione: An early chthonic goddess of prophecy.

Eris: Goddess of chaos.

Gaia: Primordial Goddess of the Earth.

Hecate: Goddess of sorcery, crossroads, and magic.

Hera: Goddess of family and marriage.

Nike: Goddess of Victory.

Do you associate with any of the above? Reason?

DC:  Honestly, they are like myths to me.  And there was never any association with them.  My Goddess of all time and whom I associated deeply with is my mother, a woman of substance who despite being illiterate, have taught us all the right virtues like determination, strength, courage, perseverance, humanity and always to stay focus on our goals in life.  That what we achieve through our own hard work are real treasures.  She was a living example and I strived to incalculate what she has taught me in my life so that in retrospect, my children will learn the right virtues.

XJ:None, I think I am the God of Cookery.

Just as the female writer Sanmao’s words in The Restaurant in the Desert: I always hate housework, but I am interested in making dishes.

WH:  The goddess Wenhui.

Every woman is a goddess, Happy Goddess’ Day!

Question 6.Heroes

We all have our fictional heroes,

Elastigirl from The Incredibles

Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell

Mei from House of Flying Daggers

Princess Leia Organa from the original Star Wars series

Selene from the Underworld series

Yu Shu Lien from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Princess Diana from Wonder Woman

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games 

Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones

Who is your fictional hero? Why?

MW: Zhenhuan from Empresses in The Palace. She is beautiful, smart and strategy.

AA:  Mulan. She is a representative of the role of ancient Chinese women in wars, which were dominated by men. She is intelligent, has a strong mind and great determination, which are the fundamental factors of success. In addition, she also cares about her family a lot, which is reflected into her decision to replace her father in the army. I admire her because she represents the sensitive side that women possess while being mentally and physically strong as the soldiers.

VC:  Hua Mulan. She is brave and natural.

Lili:  Nyai Ontosoroh (A fictional character from The Earth of Mankind)

She was sold by her father at fourteen as a mistress for a Dutchman. Despite her past, she quickly and enthusiastically learn counting, literacy, linguistic skills from her master. In the end, she becomes a well-educated, independent, wise woman, able to manage a whole company herself and raise two children.

*At the time of the story, female are much less educated than male. (Female didn’t go to school) Also, being a mistress means losing respect from other people. However, she manages to overcome that and she is well respected by others.

Question 07 Celebrate?

International Women’s Day was born of activism — the holiday was founded in 1910 when a German woman named Clara Zetkin proposed that every country devote a day to the needs and political demands of women. While in many countries, the holiday has taken on the sentimental status of days like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, women around the world use March 8 as an opportunity to fight for political freedom, equal pay, and working rights, among other causes.

How do you think women’s day should be celebrated, if at all?

Lili: I think International Women’s and Men’s day should be celebrated together. This day should be used to fight the inequality received by both women and men. We should redefine or remove completely the traditional concept of women and men (female femininity and men masculinity)

XL: Before realizing the real equality, we have little to celebrate, but fight.

WH: Yes it is important to remember how far society has come along in the recognition of women. There is an International Men’s Day too so it is very fair!

Question 08 is the traditional male dying out?

With the role of men in the society evolving, and a power shift toward women at work and home, the “traditional Alpha Male” male is dying out.

Men are increasingly defined, dominated, and controlled by women

Young men who are growing up in homes where the woman is out-earning her husband, women no longer conform to traditional gender norms. There is a rising influence of the single woman who are out educating men being “out-performed” by women economically.Do you believe this is true, if so what are the repercussions?

AA:  I believe that it is not right to put men being “out-performed” by women economically. It depends on the people themselves; we could not generalize the entire gender based on the performance of fractions of people. We should respect our differences while believing that we both have the same rights and status.

XL: I do believe it is true. And it is a good thing to let the “traditional Alpha Male” dying out just like the fascist.

ZQ:  I think male is still a domain power in the realistic world. Women are struggling for their rights in all aspects but women usually pay more efforts than men do.