The time has come for women to take charge of their role in the property industry. This is the key message from a recent panel discussion on Fitzanne’s Property Exchange, a regular podcast with Pearl Scheltema, CEO of Fitzanne Estates. Pearl, herself a veteran in the property industry, is passionate about the propulsion of female leadership in real estate: “We’re seeing incredible things develop when women educate themselves and provide opportunities for themselves and their fellow women. We are empowering ourselves and making things happen.”
To discuss the current and future challenges facing women in property, Pearl sat down with fellow industry leaders Johlene Wasserman, Manager of Governance, Compliance & Enforcement at CSOS (Community Schemes Ombud Service), Michelle Dickens, Managing Director at TPN, and Johette Smuts, Head of Data Analytics of PayProp.
Female representation is on the rise
The property industry is seeing a healthy increase in female leadership, with a larger number of women in management positions today than 10 years ago. “We are seeing a trend with CEOs increasingly being females, while women are also stepping into roles like managing directors and managing agents. ” Michelle explains. This is a marked departure from the traditional status quo and provides a healthy environment within which the next generation of women can grow into.
Representation is a crucial step in the process of empowering the next generation, which is why it’s so encouraging to see more women in roles of power. But more needs to be done, explains Johette: “As with so many of these things, it’s not a female issue to solve. It’s a business issue to solve. Companies benefit from a more diverse workforce. By becoming more educated on the extent of the challenge, we can work towards sustainable solutions for it. The first step here is to become aware of any biases we may have, and understanding how these relate to things like income disparities.”
Education and support is essential
Having access to reliable information and a support system is crucial when embarking on a career in property. As women in property, it’s a shared responsibility to create these spaces for other women to grow into the industry.
“It’s so important to equip yourself with knowledge,” says Johlene, continuing: “Don’t wait for someone else to give you information, get out there and do your research, dig in, and get started. We have to create opportunities for our fellow women!” Michelle continues: “Mentorship plays a crucial role. Having someone to bounce ideas off of, to speak to, and network networking with is priceless.”
Women can also benefit from creating spaces where it’s encouraged to find their strength as females. Johette explains: “We need to stop trying to be something we’re not! We are women and have certain skills men don’t have. Embrace ourselves and use our strengths. You don’t have to do it the way a man would do it. We’re perfectly capable of succeeding as women.”
Empowering women through property ownership
More women in leadership positions in property also trickle down to the property landscape as a whole. As more women enter the workforce and start earning their own income, the number of female property owners increases.
In fact, for the past several years, women have been outnumbering men when it comes to deed transfers. “More than 50% of property transfers are to women, up from the low 30% in the 1980s,” explains Michelle. This shift is becoming more apparent as women become more independent and exposed to more opportunities.
These new opportunities come with fresh challenges. Working hard and constantly finding ways to gain knowledge is key, with continuous education being an essential ingredient for long-term success.
For those looking to enter the world of property leadership, Fitzanne Estates’ Trustee Training offers a reliable starting point. With more than 30 years in the industry, the training offers invaluable guidance and advice to those starting out. Get started by getting in touch today!
More about Fitzanne Estates
Fitzanne Estates (Pty) Ltd is a Property Management Company that can sufficiently administer your property investment to the benefit of the Landlord, the Body Corporate, and the NPC – Non-Profit Company. Services include Letting, Sectional Title Management, Full Title Management (NPC – Non-Profit Company) and Sales.
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