L ast year when Bisnow launched “What It’s Really Like To Be A Woman In Commercial Real Estate,” our newsroom was responding to one of the industry’s worst-kept secrets: that behind the veneer of concrete, steel, glass and deals, there existed a crude “old boy’s club.” It pressed women down and out of the C-suite. It contributed to the wage disparity between men and women (more than 23%, according to CREW Network). And it fueled a feeling of disrespect and frustration among women who just wanted to feel safe and comfortable at work, to have a fair shot at the biggest deals, a seat in the boardroom, a chance to occupy the proverbial corner office and the right to be equally compensated for their hard work. When our anonymous confessional published in 2017, Harvey Weinstein was still solely known for his blockbuster films. How things have changed. His despicable actions helped to ignite a conversation that only existed in the shadows.
Eight months later, it has swept the world, and thanks to the #MeToo movement, women from all generations and backgrounds have been activated to speak up — this time in the limelight of the mainstream consciousness. Men are speaking up, too, and what they have to say about the movement and how they have been affected is at turns inspiring and disappointing. A new dialogue has gripped real estate offices across the world, and while people are demanding change, men and women alike cannot agree whether the movement has made things better or worse. Resentment abounds. This conversation is far from over, and the Bisnow news team decided to push it even further in 2018 by asking three questions to more than 100 male and female leaders in North America and Europe — with anonymity granted to all to get to the heart of CRE’s #MeToo movement and to find out what comes next.
“The #MeToo movement has absolutely not gone too far. Sadly, in my predominantly male brokerage environment, the most common response I have heard from men in my office is that it is “unfair for all men to have to feel so vulnerable and like they cannot even make jokes anymore without possible consequence.”
“I have begun to see myself, a 60-year-old professional woman, as part of the problem. The worst compliment I have ever received, and it was recently, was from a male supervisor who said that what he loved about me is I am not easily offended."
“To provide a more respectful and comfortable environment, a company needs to have the guts that when we see bad behavior they’re not afraid to terminate or put people on probation and have strict guidelines that are followed. Every company gives lip service, but I think companies need to carry through on their policies because too many don’t."