Last week I reported that women are scarce in graduate real estate programs (less than 19%) when compared with general MBA programs (more than 33%), and I invited readers to comment on why so few women are pursuing real estate careers. I received more than 50 responses (95% from women) and the perspectives that were shared were, for the most part, consistent across the board. The overriding reason given for the scarcity is the demand to juggle career and family. As opposed to men, most women divide their time and this is a significant challenge and career compromise. There was also a general view that this “counts against them” in career progression and compensation. The second, third, fourth and fifth top reasons all revolved around a common theme: It’s a man’s world, still an old-boy’s network that self-selects in its favor. Words and phrases such as “gender discrimination” and “cutthroat” also appeared in a number of emails. Many respondents pointed to the low attendance in graduate real estate programs as evidence that young women steer clear of the industry because of its less-than-desirable reputation. Conversely, a number of women said that they love the business and have carved out a great career, despite the “issues.” This was a very interesting exercise that highlighted that we have not progressed as far as we should have by now, or as much as some may think we have.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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