Breaking Stereotypes- Young Architect and entrepreneur, Saira Hussain, challenging stereotypes in the architectural and construction industry.
Saira Hussain is a young Architect, from Burnley. She studied Architecture at Huddersfield, where there were two female students, including herself, in her class of 60 students.
“We used to get it off the guys, they’d say, “you’ll never make it, you’ll just get married, you’re only doing architecture because you like drawing.”
She started her career, right after graduating with a degree in Architecture. At first, she took a job in design and planning but the salary was not enough and so to balance that, she started a part time job. Her first solo project was an extension of her neighbor’s single storey house. During that time, she did not have an office to work at, so, Saira basically did her first ever project of her career, as a freelancer, at her parents’ home in Burnley, in 2011.
But one project led to another and she had her hands full with more projects from clients and soon, she was seen looking for an office, from where she could continue her work, and could finally move on from holding meetings in her parent’s living room.
But obviously, it was not as easy as it sounds. It was a very tough journey. At the beginning of her professional career, Saira was also doing a part-time job at a call center, while managing Architectural projects, working late at night. But as things picked up, she left the part-time job, fully focusing on her own work and also hired Nixie Edwards, an old school friend.
Seven years later, she has expanded her firm to four offices across Burnley, Blackburn, London and Manchester. Her office has about 12 staff members of which two-thirds are female. Saira, was recently awarded Entrepreneur of the year at the Precious Awards, which honors women of color.
Are you wondering, how she is breaking stereotypes? Because stories like hers are very rare. According to the survey of Dezeen, conducted in 2017, it was found that only 10 percent of the highest ranking jobs at the world’s leading Architectural firms. It is clearly a male-dominated industry. Women face a gender pay gap, it was also found that female architects earn 18 percent less than the male architects.
This is a very motivational story for all female architects who are thinking to start their own business or even excel in their job. If she can do it, then you can too!