Real estate was once considered a man’s world – an industry dominated by male property agents, brokers and investors. Increasingly women are breaking through any perceived glass ceiling to find a wealth of opportunities available to them in this traditionally male-dominated field.
To coincide with International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8, global property network we celebrates women who are making their mark in real estate in emerging countries around the world.
Position: Marketing Manager at HassConsult Real Estate
The Kenyan real estate market, which in the past was dominated by men, has recently seen women take the industry to greater heights. Sakina Hassanali is one woman who is helping to revolutionize the industry. She believes that a woman’s intuitive nature is what has helped the family-run business where she works, HassConsult Real Estate, succeed. “Women have a natural knack for relationship building and given that real estate dealings are often long term, this really helps in creating lasting team synergies,” she said. “Women are able to achieve incredible growth because of – not in spite of – inherent characteristics considered to be feminine.”
Position: Broker at Rentkasa
Regardless of whether you are male or female, being a broker in Colombia requires the same attributes: perseverance and commitment. Claudia Silva loves her job because the position demands a full-time commitment while also providing enough flexibility for her to spend time with her children. “My work has taught me to understand people. Their needs and expectations are my priority,” she said.
Position: Real estate agent at Tucasanet General Commission Agent
‘Though the field is mostly dominated by men, both clients and owners are very happy to see a female agent, or delala as it is called locally,” says Yodit Abera, a broker in Ethiopia. She acknowledges that there can be trust issues and she has faced some resistance from property owners, but that this is something both men and women working in the country’s property industry deal with. “I have found that in this profession, as in life, if you’re strong, very little can drag you down,” Ms Abera said.
Position: Real estate agent and manager at Immo Best Prestations
To Moroccan broker Saida Filali, being able to work as a female real estate agent reflects a key principle of the country’s constitution – equality for both genders. She believes that embarking on a career in real estate is a matter of will, rather than gender. “Moroccan women, like all other women, have proved to the world that they are able to assume the responsibilities that were once man’s main responsibilities,” she said. “It must be said that this is only the beginning. The future will carry other surprises highlighting the true abilities of women.”
Position: Director at Quality Builders Limited
Wafa Umer of Pakistan, was at first reluctant to enter the real estate industry. But as her family was involved in the residential and commercial property sector, she was expected to forge a career in the same field. “Over the course of time, I fell in love with this industry. It is just amazing to see the journey of your project from paper to a physical presence. Moreover, people in this industry give you respect and look up to you for working in this male-dominated sector of Pakistan, particularly at a really young age,” she said.
Charm May Thu
Position: Managing director at Your Property Finder Company Ltd
Charm May Thu is the managing director of Your Property Finder in Myanmar, where she is a leader in the real estate industry. The company is a subsidiary of leading Singapore real estate agency ERA. This year, she was ranked 48th on ERA’s list of top property agents and received an award at the 2015 Asia Business Conference. The ranking is based on the number of deals closed and the commission received. Her advice for other women working in the property sector is to believe in themselves first and foremost. “People only appreciate those who appreciate themselves,” she said.
Position: Licensed real estate broker
As a female broker working in Tanzania, Dalali Mwanamke acknowledges that she has faced some difficulties. “The real estate industry has been male-dominated for a very long time. As the only woman in the business, I encounter some difficulties. The most serious issue is trust. Most clients I come across would like to be consulted by male realtors and some think that because I’m a woman, I cannot deliver,” she said. To overcome these barriers, she now reaches out to clients through social media, particularly Instagram where she has a following of 29,000 people.
Position: General Manager (sales, marketing and customer service) at Rangs Properties Ltd
While Farzana Khan has encountered some resistance from male colleagues in her line of work, she says these instances are few and far between. “I receive excellent support from the management at Rangs Properties. They have never treated me as a woman, rather assigned me the same responsibilities that they would give to a male employee in the same position. Whether in a business meeting or at a social event, I always get the due respect that my position deserves,” she said.
Erna Ervina Jumalie
Position: Sales consultant at Harcourts Agency
As a female real estate in Indonesia, Erna Ervina Jumalie does not get treated any differently from her male colleagues. But complications can arise from balancing her work and family life. “As a mother, I have to be smart in managing my time. Working as an agent sometimes requires me to meet a client in the weekend because that’s the only time they can. And this is where it gets hard because I have to make sure I also have enough time for the family,” she said. However, her dedication to her job is paying off – Erna was named one of the top five agents in the company’s annual awards in January.
Position: CEO at Ghana Prime Properties
Delores Sekyere does not believe that the stigma against women in the real estate sector in Ghana is as bad as some suggest. In fact, she believes the position of women in the country’s property industry has improved. Rather than sex, it all comes down to individual ability and a strong work ethic. “For me I believe that if you are a hard working individual, even in the midst of such a challenge, you will get the results you seek,” she said.
Position: Founder of Insight Properties Ltd
Based in Mauritius for more than a decade, Florence Montassier-Bellouard founded her own real estate company in October 2013. The business helps both Mauritian and foreign clientele find their ideal home. “Being a woman and a business entrepreneur, I firmly believe that we always end up coming back to what we like to do,” she says of the decision to open her own business. “My goal is to build a network of relationships that extends beyond the professional level, beyond pure real estate transaction; creating friendship bonds between customers.”