News & Events

#EmbraceEquity on International Women’s Day 2023

March 8, 2023

Wednesday, March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity.

We’re joining the global conversation about the importance of equity and inclusion for all genders. We recognize this ability to openly share our voices is not a privilege afforded to everyone.

At DIALOG, we are committed to promoting gender equity both internally and through our designs, with an effort to build more equitable and inclusive communities for all genders. We believe that it is essential to recognize that different individuals and groups have different needs and challenges. To create fair and inclusive communities, we must go beyond simply treating everyone the same.

Today, as a Practice, we’re hosting events across our studios intended to educate and raise awareness of gender equity, including the panel discussion Cities from Her Perspective: Allies for Equity, with all proceeds going to Women Building Futures. We’re engaging in open conversations to reflect on our own lived experiences, screening “Women in Architecture,” and joining Workout for Women’s Day, with all proceeds going to Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, an organization that supports immigrant and refugee women.

Designing for Equity

As designers, we have a responsibility to remove barriers and create inclusive spaces that serve and support all those who inhabit them. To consider the differences in how one might experience a transit system, workplace, or city, we must proactively seek out the voices and perspectives of those who don’t always have a seat at the table.

How is the lens of equitable design applied in our work?

“In my work, no matter the client, I make an effort to look around the table and notice whose voices are missing or underrepresented. We then make a plan to engage the project by actively seeking out and empowering perspectives that are different from those on the design and client team. By looking at our work through the lens of different lived experiences, we can better move the needle on how our projects impact the wellbeing of their users and the broader community.”

Tai Ziola, DIALOG Partner and architect

“Designing for equity takes intention. It is easy enough as designers to say we know what is best for everyone, we can envision their hopes, dreams, desires for the spaces in which they live they lives. It is easy to say – I am the professional, I am the subject matter expert, I am the ally. What we do know as citizens of our cities that designers all too often fail at inclusion. The diverse, quiet, marginalized, discordant voices – these are the true subject matter experts of our spaces and places. All people have a right to participate in the design of their cities, and we as designers have a social responsibility to engage in a broad and inclusive dialogue. That means we need to design our process with intention – the intention to go out and meet people where they are, to envision perspectives that differ from our own, to listen to ideas that may seem contrary to our vision, and to embrace uncertainty in the outcomes. To embrace equity is to lean in, to listen, to learn, and to work with diligence, persistence, and bravery; to check our conscious and unconscious biases each and every day. It is through this open hearted and patient work that we can truly embrace equity, and truly design spaces and places for everyone.”

Jill Robertson, DIALOG Partner and landscape architect

As an urban designer, my goal is to create communities that are truly inclusive and equitable, where all individuals feel a sense of belonging. I prioritize providing a variety of housing options, which encompasses a diversity of built forms, sizes, tenures, and other relevant factors. In addition, I strive to ensure equitable access to open spaces, amenities, and greenery, including tree canopies. Additionally, I apply a Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens that accounts for a range of identity factors that can impact individuals’ experiences of urban spaces. Specifically, I place a particular emphasis on understanding how women navigate and interact with the built environment.”

– Dorsa Jalalian, Senior urban designer

“Equitable designs are achieved by creating room early in the process for the design team, client group, end-users, and the community, to engage in open conversation. Cultivating this space for all stakeholders to share their stories, priorities and needs, while encouraging the practice of active listening, allows those voices to inform and direct the design in a way that will support and enhance the lives of everyone.”

Mona Lovgreen, DIALOG Partner, architect, San Francisco studio chair

About International Women’s Day 

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to honour the women’s rights movement, bringing awareness to issues such as gender equity, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women. Recognizing the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements and challenges of women, this day calls communities to come together to educate and raise awareness for gender equity. The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is Embrace Equity. For resources and more ideas on how to get involved on International Women’s Day 2023, visit