More women are moving into the real estate world and making their mark.
After decades of gender imbalance in a male-dominated industry, it seems Aussie females have become empowered.
“In the five years to 2017, there was a two per cent growth in the number of women in the industry compared to 1.7 per cent growth for men across the country — it is wonderful,” Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) president Leanne Pilkington said.
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A champion of change, Ms Pilkington is only the second female to serve in the institute’s history, as well as maintaining her position as managing director of Laing and Simmons.
Named in the Daily Telegraph’s inaugural top 100 most powerful people list this week, the property expert is set to host the 13th annual Women in Real Estate conference.
The Sydney event will be held next month and follow previously sold out conferences.
It will see hundreds of women, and some men, gather in a bid to encourage those who want to get a start in the real estate sector or take the next step up.
Ms Pilkington said it was crucial to have more women in the industry for several reasons.
“Women are typically the decision-makers when buying property, so (as real estate professionals) they can understand and communicate better with other women — and they tend to be more empathetic.
“While there are fantastic men out there, and I acknowledge that, they tend to be more transactional whereas women invest in the emotional side of buying and selling a home.”
Each year, a panel of successful speakers share their stories with the ambitious crowd.
This year’s group will hear from Ewan Morton, who is the co-founder of real estate company Morton; Goods Property Buyers and Location, Location, Location Australia co-host Veronica Morgan; and REA Group’s executive manager of residential marketing and events, Gina McCartney.
Ms Pilkington said women who had signed up to date were most excited to hear from two women.
One is Belle Property principal Cathy Baker, who has returned from “an experience” on Necker Island in the Carribbean, which is owned by Richard Branson.
The other is Louisette Geiss, a former actress and face of the #metoo movement, who is set to divulge details about a bad experience with Harvey Weinstein.
Ms Pilkington said despite women having less challenges to tackle in the industry, the main one was having to juggle their time.
“Probably the biggest issue for women is if they have kids, as with weekend work and after hours appointments some mothers find the hours difficult if they don’t have support at home,” she said.
“Like any business, some principals are better with providing flexibility than others.
“Other than that, there shouldn’t be any difference between men and women.”
Jo-Anne Black has been in the industry for 35 years and has attended many of the REINSW’s conferences, which she claims “give women a voice”.
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After years of working in a handful of offices, she has started her own consulting business with the help of women she has networked with at these events.
“After bouncing around ideas and working collaboratively, I have gained so much knowledge — and it all comes down to these girls who have pushed me and just having their support,” Ms Black said.
The 2019 Women in Real Estate conference will be held on the morning of March 26 at the Art Gallery of NSW.