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For decades, the field of commercial real estate has often looked more like a fraternity than a diverse business industry. As women have gained their voices in recent years, the shackles of the old boys club have begun to come off. To keep this momentum going, business leaders must continue to innovate to find ways to empower women. By implementing select initiatives, we can work to increase gender parity in the field of commercial real estate. Here are a few ways to get started:

ENCOURAGE WORKING MOTHERS

The clear difference between a male and female businessperson is the line of demarcation created during the reproductive years. To truly encourage women to continue to pursue a career in commercial real estate, the working mother must be effectively valued and supported. Aside from a generous maternity leave, it would behoove businesses to offer services that support, rather than discourage working mothers. Some of these measures include flexible work schedules, in-house childcare, work share programs, lactation rooms for nursing mothers, and effective communication.

INCREASE HIGH-LEVEL REPRESENTATION

Despite great strides in recent years in overall representation in the industry, women still lag behind in representation in key leadership roles. Although the gender wage gap is on the decline across all business sectors, that is only the beginning of achieving overall equality. To legitimately empower women in their roles, we must work to ensure that females continue to make strides in landing roles at the executive level. Current research demonstrates that only nine percent of women occupy C-level positions in the field of commercial real estate. We must do better than this if are to ensure the further advancement of females in this industry.

SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

To empower women to continue to aim high in the field of commercial real estate, we must continue to encourage them to stoke their entrepreneurial fires. Women can be supported in their startup goals by learning that it is acceptable to fail, reaching out to mentors, networking within their industry, continuing to learn in their field, and minimizing the effects of negative people. Although females have historically been underrepresented in entrepreneurship, the trends are shifting definitively in their favor as more and more women are gaining the confidence to take that first leap.