Did you know the number of women currently serving in Congress is the highest in history? This progress is great news, but with women holding just over a quarter of congressional seats, the legislative branch still has a long way to go to match the example set by our industry.
During Women’s History Month, we proudly recognize there is no profession that supports women entrepreneurs and leaders like real estate.
There are many reasons that today’s real estate workforce is majority female. From schedule flexibility to the opportunity to help families and work with people, women report a real estate career uniquely compliments their professional strengths and life circumstances. And, in contrast to many other industries, women in real estate, on average, earn more than men.
Real estate has long been ahead of the curve in elevating and empowering women – but it still took persistence. When NAR was founded in 1908, all members were men. Today, women make up 65 percent of the association’s membership.
This year, NAR reflects this reality at the highest level with not only a woman president but also, for the first time, a majority-women leadership team.
For state and local REALTOR® associations, the Women’s Council of REALTORS® recently opened applications for its 2022 Supporting Women of Real Estate grants, which help to organize one-day conferences focused on inspiring women professionals to take on greater leadership roles.
In 1978, only 21 percent of brokers were women; today, that figure is 61 percent. In 1978, 52 percent of full-time sales agents were women; today, it’s 65 percent.
The pandemic wreaked havoc on the labor force, with women bearing the greatest burden. In April 2020, the share of working women aged 25 to 54 in the labor force dropped to the lowest level since March 1984. Meanwhile, the percentage of women in real estate has remained steady, continuing to reinforce real estate’s professional appeal.
Women are not only breaking barriers as real estate practitioners but also in homeownership. Women have been second only to married couples in the homebuying market since NAR started collecting data on the topic in 1981. The rate of single women homebuyers is also two times that of single men.
With the success women have found as real estate practitioners and homebuyers, we should also focus on helping elect more women REALTORS® to public office. There are many REALTOR® Party resources available to state and local associations to support these efforts.
The REALTOR® Party offers an Online Candidate Training Academy for state and local candidates, or REALTORS® interested in learning more about the process. State and local associations can bring an in-person Candidate Training Academy to their members.
The REALTOR® Party’s state and local independent expenditure program also provides each state with funds that can be used to support candidates who support REALTORS® and the real estate industry.
Many sectors could take a page from real estate’s handbook when it comes to supporting women in the workforce – but we don’t want to rest on what we’ve achieved. Let’s keep pushing to ensure women are well-represented not only in our industry and in the market, but in the halls of Congress, statehouses, and city halls across the country.