Ipswich architect Pippa Jacob has won a Women in Construction award after an ongoing campaign for parental rights. Here, she explains how the campaign started after the birth of her first child
An Ipswich-based architect who has lobbied the Royal Institute of British Architects for greater support for new parents within her industry has been recognised as one of the top 100 Influential Women in Construction in the UK. Pippa Jacob, from Nicholas Jacob Architects, Ipswich, has spearheaded industry-wide conversations around maternity and shared parental leave looking to safeguard the profession for future generations by implementing greater work life balance within the industry.
And now her campaigning has been recognised by the National Federation of Builders an award programme showcasing women in the sector who shine a light on those working to support Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
She says: ‘I am truly honoured to be included in this prestigious list of women who are championing others in the construction industry and using their influence to support inclusion and change.
‘After the birth of my first child in 2021 I experienced financial struggles and started to speak with colleagues throughout the architectural industry to find out if my experience was unique. What I found was an industry-wide lack of support for new architect parents.
‘Given the time it takes to qualify, many architects spend their early years in the profession studying and choose to start a family once they are established. At this point in life, there are can be significant financial commitments, meaning the drop in income to maternity/shared parental pay (which is below the National Living Wage) is not financially viable.
‘At an emotionally charged, sleep deprived time, the pressure of financial stress can be very challenging, and, in many cases, the lack of maternity and shared parental leave policies and the ingrained ethos of long working hours can force people out of the profession altogether.’
As part of her campaign, Pippa has penned a series of articles for the Architects Journal and been a speaker at a Women in Architecture (WIA) event for parents hosted by RIBA, subsequently published in the RIBA Journal.
Pippa, who is currently on maternity leave after having her second child, adds: ‘During a national skills shortage, the industry should be retaining and supporting highly trained architects as well as educating the next generation of architects.
‘To be recognised as one of the top 100 women in the construction industry really feels like the icing on the cake of my ongoing campaign to provide support for new parents in the profession.’
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Featured image of Pippa Jacobs – supplied