International Women’s Day is a global annual event, on Monday 8th March, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women in a bid to accelerate gender parity.
According to Forbes magazine, reflecting on the findings of UK government research, organisations with more female leaders on their boards “outperform their rivals with a 42% higher return on sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity.” Other research has found that teams involving women have a higher collective intelligence than teams of only men, and investors are likely to see a business as more competently run than without a mix of genders.
We want to celebrate female Guild Members by asking them a few questions about International Women’s Day and being a woman in estate agency and society.
1. Why is it important to celebrate IWD?
“I feel it is so important to celebrate International Women’s Day as growing up in this industry, dominated by the male workforce, I have seen female colleagues thrive, grow and climb the ladder now more than ever. Women supporting women is a huge passion of mine and it’s great to have a day to celebrate each other.” – Fiona Cupples, 15 years at Homes Independent Estate Agents
“This is a day to recognise and promote the efforts being taken worldwide to eliminate discrimination against women. It also helps us focus on helping women gain full and equal participation in the workplace. This is particularly important in Estate Agency where the workforce is male dominated and it’s an opportunity to encourage more female estate agents.” – Abigail Grey, Managing Director of Grey & Co, 18 years in estate agency
“It is important to celebrate International Women’s Day to recognise and celebrate that women’s rights are evolving and developing. Women now have a greater diversity of choice and support in the pursuance of their goals and dreams than they ever have before, but that there is still work to do in respect of those facing less favourable social-economic factors in this respect.” – Maria Morgan, Owner of Platinum Properties, over 20 years in estate agency
2. Is there a female figure who inspires you and why?
“Melanie Reid, award winning journalist who became a tetraplegic following a riding accident and still writes a darkly humorous column on how she copes with life daily.” – Kate Taylor, Director at Taylor & Co, 20 years in estate agency
“I could say Michelle Obama, but many people will choose her, so I am going for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This woman is fighting the corner for the underrepresented minorities and women all over the world, she challenges the status quo and calls out corruption. What’s not to like?” – Abigail Grey, Managing Director of Grey & Co, 18 years in estate agency
“There are many women who inspire me in different ways, my friends, my sisters, The Queen, Madonna, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana. They are not afraid to stand out from the crowd and go about their business in what they believe in.” – Donna Vincent, Residential Sales Manager at Millbank Estate Agents, 23 years in estate agency
3. How important is it for women to lift each other up in business and generally in life?
“Very important. Too often we are taught to think of other women as a threat, but we should be treating each other as allies and working together to help each other to succeed.” - Amy Roberts, Branch Manager at Bryan & Keegan, estate agent for 10 years
“I think it is particularly important in a male dominated profession for women to stick together. We all share similar knowledge in an industry, regardless of whether we are male or female, but the difficulty can be on social occasions or networking, which can be intimidating for women. By sticking together, we increase confidence and opportunities in these situations.” – Kirsty Keeton, Director at Richard Watkinson & Partners, 22 years in estate agency
4. Why did you choose to become an estate agent?
“I love helping people and I feel being an estate agent is a rewarding job knowing you have helped someone move onto their next journey in their life and hopefully alleviated some of the stress they may have had knowing I have looked after them.” – Donna Vincent, Residential Sales Manager at Millbank Estate Agents, 23 years in estate agency
“I enjoy meeting different people from all walks of life and have always had a keen interest in different types of properties.” – Lisa Hunt, Residential Director at Maguire Jackson, 20 years in estate agency
“I love property and people, the two together make the perfect match.” – Tracey Leonard, Office Manager at Seymours Estate Agents, 21 years in estate agency
5. What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in estate agency?
“Be bold, confident and adaptable. Be prepared to always learn more and work on your personal development.” - Amy Roberts, Branch Manager at Bryan & Keegan, estate agent for 10 years
“Networking is my biggest key to success. Be bold, get creative and build relationships in the industry. Find mentors to learn from. When I started, I had two top-sales agent mentors and their success inspired me to pursue my career and their advice was priceless and still serves me well even 30+ years later!” – Sandra Tooley, Owner/Director at Castor Bay Property, over 30 years in estate agency
6. What do you think is the biggest issue facing women today?
“The biggest issue facing women today is the struggle to retain a good work/life balance whilst not appearing to be doing a lesser role than our male peers; quite often a woman feels that they have to do more to get the same recognition.” – Sarah Breeze, Chartered Surveyor and Lettings Manager at Morris, Marshall & Poole, 19 years in estate agency
“Ingrained practices that still believe women are less qualified and able to progress to senior positions. Also balancing careers and childcare which usually results with one having to be sacrificed for the other.” – Lisa Hunt, Residential Director at Maguire Jackson, 20 years in estate agency
“I think the biggest issue facing women today in the developed world and from my direct experience is the choice surrounding having children and the support/childcare available once you wish to return to the workplace.” – Maria Morgan, Owner of Platinum Properties, over 20 years in estate agency
7. In your opinion, why is it important that women are in the estate agency profession?
“We humanise the process by helping people during their peak life moments and their darkest hours by displaying empathy and understanding.” – Kate Taylor, Director at Taylor & Co, 20 years in estate agency
“In my opinion, women bring a different skill set: emotion and intuition, they are excellent at the ‘soft sale’ approach. They can be relatable, sympathetic and in-tune with both buyers and sellers, which can give them an advantage in negotiation.” – Sandra Tooley, Owner/Director at Castor Bay Property, over 30 years in estate agency
“I think, women have more attention to detail then men allowing us to focus on providing an excellent service that deals with problems before they arise.” - Caroline Wellard, Managing Director, Kent Estate Agenices, 33 years in estate agency