Real Estate’s Hidden Shame: Women Leaders Share Alarming Truths

Real Estate’s Hidden Shame: Women Leaders Share Alarming Truths

The women who drive the real estate sector have a united message: It's time to shed light on the shadows. They're stepping up, and so should you.

Imagine a young realtor, eager to make her mark, attending an industry event. Instead of networking, she’s cornered by four men, their body language making it clear: she’s trapped. Another woman is propositioned by a superior in an elevator, a space she can’t escape. Yet another finds six unsolicited bottles of wine in her hotel room, each paired with a lewd invitation.

It’s hard to believe, but these aren’t scenes from a drama series – they’re happening right here in our industry.

In a recent Arizona conference hosted by the “Awesome Females in Real Estate” group, such experiences were shared not as rare incidents, but as common realities. Bernice Ross, the brains behind this group and a long-time figure in real estate, shared with Inman that these stories aren’t just outliers; they’ve been the elephant in the room for too long.

Debra Trappen of WomanUP! emphasized to Inman how the landscape has changed. Real estate might have been built by men, but it thrives today because of women. And, she stressed, it’s high time we stand up to behavior that shouldn’t have had a place at the table to begin with.

Here’s some hard truth: over 1 million women are part of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s not a minority. And with unsettling stories surrounding figures like Kenny Parcell, NAR’s current president, it’s a wake-up call. Christine Jacobson put it bluntly when speaking to Inman: NAR isn’t just a club; it’s the beacon of standards and ethics for the entire industry.

At a pivotal July conference panel, titled “Where do we go from here?”, about 45 women bravely faced the issue of harassment. It wasn’t just talk – they focused on actionable solutions.

This isn’t a passing phase. Platforms like WomanUP! and the Awesome Females in Real Estate’s Facebook group are keeping the conversation alive, ensuring it doesn’t get swept under the rug.

Ross, with her finger always on the industry’s pulse, allowed the conversation to adapt and grow organically during the event. The result? An evolving guideline that brings to light the hidden pitfalls women face in real estate and how we can work to eliminate them.

To put this in perspective, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that roughly 85% of women have faced sexual harassment at work. This isn’t a minor issue – it’s an industry crisis.

It’s time to bring the conversation to the forefront. If we pride ourselves on building homes and communities, let’s first ensure that our own house is in order.