Editor: New schemes to champion gender equality in the construction industry are a promising step, and we must also continue to focus on the broader work required to empower women across the property sector as a whole (‘Two industry leaders appointed to spearhead campaign tackling gender inequality in construction).
Just 22% of board-level members in the property industry are women, occupying just 15% of roles in the sector more broadly. This is significantly lower than the 34.5% of women on boards in FTSE 100 firms. Property has been slow to close the gap while other industries historically characterised by a primarily male workforce have made tangible gains in equality.
Take the private equity industry: while there is still work to be done, research by HEC Business School shows that teams including women outperform all-male teams by a staggering average of 12% based on internal rate of return.
Addressing disparities should be front of mind from a social and governance perspective, but ensuring greater inclusivity is also integral to success in the industry. A strong gender balance brings different outlooks and expertise into a multi-faceted sector that requires as wide a breadth of skill sets as possible.
It is also crucial that there is a legal and financial framework in place to encourage such an overdue transition, including better aid for smaller businesses to support maternity leave, adoption leave and childcare options.
Government support could make all the difference in driving inroads towards gender equality, as could giving a platform to companies that lead by example and champion inspiring women within the sector.
Robyn Lee, director of operations, HSPG