The election put the issue of gender equality once again at the forefront of the national agenda, with the premise that the pay gap between men and women is still vast and beyond our reach. While it is true that challenges still remain toward gender parity in the workforce, we cannot overlook or ignore the fact that women professionals have made major strides in traditionally male-dominated industries.
While parity gaps still exist between the sexes with respect to salaries, statistics show that these gaps are shrinking, particularly in industries that have historically been dominated by men. For example, according to national commercial real estate association CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women), women are entering commercial real estate at a faster pace than they were five years ago — 43 percent today, as compared to 36 percent in 2005.
Most interesting about these findings is why more women are entering the commercial real estate sector. Simply put, there are more opportunities in the field across the board. In the past, women usually assisted men on brokerage teams. Today, there are more opportunities for women to succeed as the lead broker, lender, developer, attorney — all who are involved in the deal-making process.
Nowhere else is this more apparent than in South Florida, where women are helming major brokerage firms, serving as equity partners at top-ranking law firms and sitting at the executive table of the region’s largest community banks. In fact, an assessment of some of the region’s biggest real estate deals reveals that the majority of these are those in which women have played a leading role, including a $50 million refinance of the Grand Beach Hotel, the 25,000-square-foot lease at 1450 Brickell on behalf of Berger Singerman and the signing of a 5,500-square- foot lease at downtown Miami’s historic post office.
With more women at the helm of major deals and at the head of executive tables in South Florida, not only are we paving the way for young women to look toward real estate as a prospective career — we are supporting the long-term growth and prosperity as a region.
As CREW-Miami celebrates its 25th anniversary, it is a good time to reflect on the advancements that have been made, which have all helped to define our industry and shape our region.
Yes it is true that we are (hopefully) exiting one of the most tumultuous and economically straining periods in our collective history. But as we enter the next chapter of Miami’s real estate story, we should see a leveled playing field where men and women are not only doing deals together but helping one another succeed.
Maria Juncadella, Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), is principal and vice president of Fairchild Partners and president of CREW-Miami (Commercial Real Estate Women).