The Steganography of Discrimination in Commercial Real Estate

Another resource that I failed to note is The National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB). NAWRB is a leading voice for women in the housing ecosystem. NAWRB is dedicated to providing women the tools and opportunities for economic growth and expansion, while advocating and promoting women-owned businesses. NAWRB is the only third-party industry-specific certifier of Women-Owned Businesses (WOB) and Minority Women-Owned Businesses (MWOB) in the housing economy.

NAWRB provides a unique platform for uniting Women in Housing and Women in Government including educational training on contracting opportunities both government and private, to expand our members’ business growth.

NAWRB empowers women in our advocacy relationships with the Office(s) of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI), Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), the Small Business Administration (SBA), the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) and other organizations. Since August of 2010, NAWRB has been championing the OMWIs, to bring more diversity and inclusion to our industry with their awareness, opportunities and access.

The blog on NAWRB recently posted about an article from National Real Estate Investor (October 2015) which discusses current and past history of discrimination against women in Commercial Real Estate. Desiree Patno, the CEO and founder of NAWRB is quoted in the original. The last line of the article exemplifies the one percent I speak of, “Grant Thorton LLP, an independent audit, tax and business advisory firm, estimates that there has been only a 1 percent increase in women in senior management roles at U.S. companies in the last 10 years and that only 6 percent of women in senior management roles have reached the position of CEO.”

A more recent article in 2016 asks, “Are Women Really Making Progress in the Commercial Real Estate Industry?”  is based on a study by the CREW Network. It largely depends on how you define progress…so I will say no overall. The 10% decrease of women in brokerage stood out to me while asset management and development increased. The brokerage side of the business has the easiest point of entry but the most difficult to stay in.

“Between 2006 and 2015, the real estate industry experienced increases in the percentage of women professionals in the asset management (51 percent to 54 percent) and development (23 percent to 38 percent) sectors. The percentage of women in brokerage and finance has declined over the same period—from 39 percent to 29 percent in brokerage and from 44 percent to 42 percent in finance.”

The aforementioned reiterates the importance of organizations like NAWRB, CREW and women and minorities to continue fighting to make the industry a true reflection of the people it serves.

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