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Mitra Esfandiari is an architect and senior principal at RDC and focuses on entertainment and high-end retail projects.

Mitra Esfandiari. Mitra Esfandiari. Courtesy photo

What has been your biggest challenge or obstacle as a woman in your particular role? How have you overcome those obstacles? People who refuse to acknowledge the skills and authority of a woman are among the main challenges of my field. Unfortunately, the image of the builder conveyed in popular culture remains as white and male. Even though the right intentions about the equality of women and diversity in my field, in general, may exist, there are still unconscious micro prejudices. These may spark in behavior and body language that is deeply rooted in upbringings and society, which is discouraging and results in women leaving the field. Even when the statistics and representation of women become equitable in professions that are currently dominated by men, we won’t have success until women’s voices are considered equally valuable.

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