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Only 14% Of Speakers At European Real Estate Events Are Female. This Organisation Will Change That

John Lewis Director of Online Product Sienne ​Veit, Westfield Chief Marketing Officer Myf Ryan and Agent Cash's Tarique Khan

Only 14% of speakers at European real estate events are women.

Women make up 50% of the world’s population, and even in the gender-imbalanced U.K. real estate industry, around 20% of professionals are female, meaning 14% is an underrepresentation of an underrepresentation.

But a new organisation is trying to address this issue. The founders of Women Talk Real Estate — Andrea Carpenter and Viktorija Grubesic — believe increasing the number of female speakers at industry events raises the profile of women in the industry, which in turn can help career advancement and bring more women to the sector.

Women Talk Real Estate's Viktorija Grubesic

Women Talk Real Estate is a not-for-profit group that will connect female real estate professionals with event organisers and media that are seeking presenters, panelists and spokespeople through an online database.

It has been sponsored by property companies BNP Paribas Real Estate, CBRE Global Investors, AXA Investment Managers - Real Assets, JP Morgan Asset Management, TH Real Estate, Union Investment and law firm Mishcon de Reya. Bisnow is one of several media partners.

“Women currently represent just 14% of speakers at real estate events across Europe,” said Grubesic, former director of event marketing and special programmes at the Urban Land Institute. “This significantly underestimates the contribution female professionals make in the industry.”

Women Talk Real Estate's Andrea Carpenter

“Visibility matters,” Carpenter said. “For individuals, being higher profile can bring better business opportunities and career progression while for the industry, it challenges stereotypes and increases the number of role models.”

Carpenter is a former editor of EuroProperty and head of marketing and communications EMEA at CBRE Global Investors.

In spite of initiatives spanning years in the U.K., the real estate industry retains a large gender imbalance, especially at senior levels.

“We are beginning to see more women in real estate taking centre stage. But it’s still not enough, and the rate of improvement is slow,” Mishcon de Reya partner Susan Freeman said. “Women Talk Real Estate is an important platform for every woman in the industry. Not only will it help women raise their profiles, it will also tackle the underrepresentation of women in the sector, and encourage more women to consider careers in real estate.”