Agencies and suppliers today mark International Women’s Day with events and declarations shining a light on the achievements of female colleagues and raising awareness about gender equality.
At LSL Property Services, the parent firm of Your Move and Reeds Rain, activities are being held to urge women across the business to consider, by listening to others, how they can contribute to a more inclusive world.
Helen Buck, executive director for estate agency at LSL, says: “This is the first time we’ve actively supported International Women’s Day within the estate agency division but feel that, particularly now, it’s very important to acknowledge and celebrate the huge contribution that women make to business and society as a whole.
“Global statistics show that many women have been disproportionally affected by the current crisis, with one in four considering downshifting or leaving the workforce as a result. We hope that our events will help raise awareness of this and encourage our colleagues to consider gender inequality and how they might challenge this.”
And Louise Hudson, marketing director - and a participant in round table sessions within the company today - adds: “Our industry is perceived as quite male dominated and yet over 50 per cent of the workforce at LSL are women. I think it is entirely fitting to take this day to stop and listen to what some of the women in our business have to say about their careers and experiences, made all the more inspiring knowing that we are doing this simultaneously with many others across the world who are also pausing to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements.
“If anyone who participates today – irrespective of gender – feels a sense of pride in what women contribute to LSL, then we will have done a good job.”
LSL’s commitment to the day includes donations to Refuge, a UK charity for women and children who experience domestic violence, as well as to the Princes Trust.
Meanwhile the London and south east region’s Benjamin Stevens Estate Agents will also be marking the day.
The company’s senior block manager and director Sally Drake has worked in the industry for over 25 years and admits: “In the old days the top positions were always dominated by men … In the past there was a need to work that bit harder to prove yourself to ‘the boys club’ in respect of your knowledge and ability.
“I have myself experienced being treated differently because I’m as a woman - the male tendency in some cases used be to either patronise, sexualise or demonise female colleagues. You had to learn how to play the game, utilising their stereotypes to your own advantage to achieve the result you were seeking without demeaning yourself.”
Associate director Louisa Felman began working at the company in 2011, first as office junior before working her way up to second in command.
She says: “I have been able to continue working alongside having my two children and love that I can work flexibly whilst also having time at home. I strongly champion working mothers. We have so much to juggle and constantly question whether we are doing all the roles in our lives to the best of our ability. I personally feel that this very struggle makes us that much more organised, efficient and therefore even better at our jobs”