A BURNLEY businesswoman has been named the UK's most influential woman in architecture.

Saira Hussain, practice manager of Hussain Architectural Design, was given the award at the 2017 influential businesswoman awards by Al Magazine.

Ms Hussain has spoken out about the 'unequal playing field' facing women who pursue a career in architecture who will struggle to make it to the top.

Hussain Architectural Design is a female led practice and has been running since 2011, having expanded to Burnley, Huddersfield, Blackburn, Manchester, and London.

The practice, which was set up by Ms Hussain when she was 23, has won more than 25 awards including The Duke of Gloucester, the Red Rose, English Asian Business Awards and two awards on architecture and design for Build Magazine.

She said: "It is easy to say that gender issues are a thing of the past, but a young woman in the architecture field today still confronts an unequal playing field.

"She can expect to make less than her male peers at every stage of her career and see much fewer career-building opportunities come her way.

"She will struggle to make it to the top ranks of the profession, which remain vastly male.

"Discrimination lies behind these hurdles and is the reason we continue to see such alarmingly high dropout rates for women.

"We need to recognise these issues and discuss women in Architecture and take some action.

"Receiving this award gives me the platform and recognition within my industry and I can take steps to push these issues to be discussed much more openly."

As a leader of women’s empowerment at the Global Young Asian Entrepreneurs network, she was recently invited to the House of Commons for a debate on Race in the Workplace as part of The McGregor-Smith Review.

The panel discussed whether there are challenges and a lack of opportunities facing the South Asian Community.