Each year International Women’s Day provokes a great deal of thought here at Madison Berkeley. 

Madison Berkeley’s founders Clare Coe and Nina Zeilerbauer and their director of development and construction Christine Scott, often speak truthfully and transparently about operating in a largely male industry. They set out to change the face of real estate when they started Madison Berkeley in 2017. Having both held senior positions in recruitment for a combined 30 years plus, Nina and Clare became uncomfortable with the lack of momentum within the industry to tackle diversity and inclusion. As recruiters, they felt it was their duty to try and change things more quickly. Madison Berkeley is proud to be a recruitment firm that educates and helps their clients to hire with diversity at the fore. 

In the seven years that Madison Berkeley has been trading, female representation in the industry has been slowly rising. However, last year Madison Berkeley highlighted the issue of the retention of women at senior levels within the sector. Using the latest figures from the Real Estate Balance Industry Survey 2022 released in February 2023 it was evident that at board level within the sector, female representation in our industry was running at 29% and senior and leadership levels at just 27%. This pointed to a problem with retention. Last year the Madison Berkeley and Ladies in Real Estate (LiRE) #EMPOWEREQUITY campaign ran a series of five reverse mentoring interviews between five senior and five junior females in the industry. The aim was to start conversations at the highest levels. You can still listen to those conversations here. The topics and debates which arose from them still resonate.

IWD #InspireInclusion is important in so many ways for the real estate industry. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in various disciplines throughout our sector. It also gives a platform to raise gender equality awareness within our still heavily male-skewed industry. It does this by drawing attention to the challenges and obstacles in achieving equality that females in real estate face. We must continue to address these challenges and obstacles and look at innovative and new ways to raise awareness and start conversations.  

Parts of the industry are working hard behind the scenes to promote gender equality. We know that Adina David’s Ladies In Real Estate group remains a brilliant resource for females to network and build contacts. An all-important part of our industry. We worked with Black Women in Real Estate on the #IAMWOMAN campaign in 2022, and they too continue to work hard to break down barriers to black women accessing and being retained within Real Estate. This work is so important in creating a more inclusive and equitable industry. It helps to challenge stereotypes, biases, and discrimination against women. It helps us move towards ensuring we have policies and practices that promote gender parity in place in Real Estate going forward.

IWD #InspireInclusion empowers women by providing them with a sense of solidarity and support. It encourages women to speak up, assert their rights, and pursue their goals and aspirations without fear or hesitation. It also inspires women to become leaders and change-makers in their communities and beyond. In Real Estate IWD #InspireInclusion should be seen as a pathway to foster change. A tool to be used to speak up by mobilising individuals, organisations, and governments to take action towards achieving gender equality. 

Our message at Madison Berkeley remains the same: If our sector does not reflect society truthfully, this will have a severe impact on the future of the built environment.