Inclusiveness of women in the real estate sector advocates gender neutrality, writes Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani

The shattering of the glass ceiling by women in the real estate industry is proof of how women have broken into another male stronghold to skillfully carve out their niche. They objectively move forward with the right set of knowledge, skills, and talents, strengthening their position and power to lead innovative roles. International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022, is an opportunity to accredit the rise of women in the male-dominated real estate sector. The day is meant to recognize the achievements of women and embrace gender balance in true spirit.

Today, women hold multifaceted and excellent positions in various disciplines, and real estate is no exception. They break stereotypes and emerge as equal potential actors to bridge the gender gap. Over the years, the role of women in the Indian real estate sector has increased. They have gone from a mere influencer to a decision maker and have acted as catalysts in the form of consumers, agents, consultants, investors and entrepreneurs. Today, more and more women are willing to pursue an education to join the bandwagon of real estate professionals. The reboot of the real estate sector system with structural policy changes paved the way for innovative and inclusive roles towards a gender-neutral future. For the industry to adopt a talent-driven mindset, policy, priority and programming, all three are needed to achieve gender neutrality. The innate skills required in the real estate business come naturally to women such as soft talk, negotiation, adaptability, emphasis, emotional quotient and resilience. It can bring a sense of brand personification and an enhanced customer experience, which is vital in a customer-centric world. Gender balance will promote balance, economic prosperity and job creation on a larger scale.

Fortunately, as more and more professional women are advancing in the industry, developers, banks and even the government are coming up with innovative initiatives to make real estate a safe and lucrative segment for women. Increased career mobility increases independence and with improved financial intelligence, floodgates have been opened for women to enter the real estate ecosphere. The inclusion of women in the labor force will accelerate economic development and increase per capita household income. In the coming years, the industry will witness many distinctive roles to improve its performance index in the rapidly changing economic ecosystem. Recognizing the importance of uplifting women in real estate, industry body NAREDCO recently created the women’s wing NAREDCO MAHI. The platform empowers women to seize the moment and conjure up a world of opportunity.

According to a survey, women’s preference for real estate increased after COVID-19, from 57% in a pre-COVID-19 consumer sentiment index to 62%. Many Indian women now see housing as a secure foundation for financial security and also as a good potential to diversify their investment portfolios beyond other assets.

The industry is rapidly transforming into an egalitarian place by welcoming a culture of inclusive growth and equal opportunities. As the new generation equip themselves with real estate educational pedagogies, they will strive for more professional participation in the real estate lineup. New-age real estate will witness sea through changes in the leadership bandwagon with gender diversity as the new growth mantra. Gender diversity brings holistic, multi-pronged and rational decisions to the board and therefore the industry should foster an enabling environment for its advancement. A gender-balanced workforce in the formal labor market will boost economic growth.

Improving women’s economic empowerment will help change the face and destiny of the nation. The economic impact of achieving gender equality in India is estimated at US$700 billion to be added to GDP by 2025. The IMF estimates that equal participation of women in the labor force will increase the India’s GDP by 27%, which can be achieved through education, skills, resources, coaching and redefining social norms. Investing in gender balance will not only help build societal but also economic resilience to mitigate future shocks. To achieve this, the industry should adopt innovative practices such as gender balance practices, flexibility, mentorship sponsorship programs, internships and external representations. Therefore, let us all pledge to uphold the long-standing commitment to gender-responsive economic growth to build a resilient India @100.

(The author is National Vice President -NAREDCO)

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Posted: Monday, March 7, 2022, 9:11 PM IST