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President-Elect Candidate Forum Question 1 - Pam Linn

We know that females account for 61 percent of ASLA Student members, however it is the polar opposite in the Full membership category. How can ASLA lead in the work of retaining women in the profession and in its membership?

Pam Linn, FASLA

Landscape architects create environments for diverse users and our professional community should reflect this. A thriving society embraces the richness of the collective whole. Diverse organizations are more productive, more creative, make better decisions, and earn more revenue. ASLA can start by understanding gender equity issues, listening to the membership, strengthening existing initiatives, and by spurring innovative solutions as we look to an equitable future.

Research and Understand the Challenges. To work towards achieving gender equity, we must first understand the scope of the problem. According to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2020, North America won’t see gender equality for decades, and gender parity can have a large impact on whether an economy or society will thrive. The ASLA award winning Visualizing Equity in Landscape Architecture (VELA) project establishes a benchmark of where we currently stand as a community of landscape architects and will provide the data needed for ASLA to take action.

Listen and Support. Listening to women throughout their entire professional development trajectory is key for ASLA to strategize for change. Women value flexibility, whether it is in education, licensing, or practice. ASLA must create and support forums for women to interact, including developing peer groups for women to have safe spaces for conversation, to get career advice and mentoring, to address workplace flexibility and culture, and to move forward with developing women-owned firms.

Strengthen, Partner and Build on Existing Initiatives. In my professional career and time in ASLA leadership, I’ve received support from some influential groups focused on women in landscape architecture. As President, I will continue to promote and strengthen initiatives like ASLA's Women of Color Licensure Advancement Program, pursuing racial and gender diversity within the profession; PPN Women in Landscape Architecture, offering mentorship and resources for women; and WxLA, an advocacy initiative created to lead efforts toward equality in our profession.

Innovate and look to the Future. If our profession wants to retain exceptional talent, our structural and cultural systems need to adapt. As a community we need to promote initiatives for forming diverse, innovative, and creative project teams. Today's students and emerging professionals need to see themselves represented at every level of the profession. As President I will position ASLA at the forefront, helping women reach their highest potential as the profession innovates for the future.

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