Architecture was, in its early days, an area exclusive to men and for quite some time it continued to be dominated by them. Actually, if you look at this list (that should be one of the most famous architects in the world so far), we can clearly see the true proportions. Well, today women are starting to catch up, but at one point even access to studies was a problem.
For example, it was a somewhat recent discovery that Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham, considered until not so long ago nothing more than a patron of architects, might have actually been the first woman architect in the world. She was born in 1632 and under no circumstances could she have followed a profession in that era. But her honeymoon with her husband, Baronet of Cheshire, gave her the opportunity to travel around Europe and, further more, turn it into a study tour. It seems that in order to fulfill her dream, she used male architects on site for the actual building process, but she should be credited for the design of almost 400 buildings, including family residences or churches.
The first woman who managed to get an official diploma of architectural studies was Mary Louisa Page, in 1878, from the University of Illinois. However, after graduation, she decided to become a school teacher.
Then, in 1881, Louise Bethune, considered by most the first woman architect in the United States, opened in New York her own company, in a partnership with her future husband, Robert Bethune.
But the first woman architect that was actually quite prolific was Julia Morgan, the first woman admitted to the architecture program at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Artsdin Paris and her career meant more than 700 buildings in California.
Romania’s first woman architect was Virginia Andreescu Haret and she got her diploma in Bucharest, in 1919, completed after that with another class in Rome. She successfully represented us at congresses all around Europe and in Bucharest you can still see some of her works: Palatul Tinerimea Română (Schitu Măgureanu), ”Cantemir-Vodă” National College, Gheorghe Șincai National College, Saint Trinity Church etc. Also, her name is linked to some of the first buildings made from reinforced concrete in Bucharest and you surely passed some of them every time you drove or walked on Calea Victoriei.