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Survey: more doors opening for women.

Commercial real estate leaders are stepping up to the plate to support the advancement of women in the industry, according to a new survey by Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW).

Barbara E. Champoux, president, NYCREW Network Inc. and the New York chapter of CREW Network. said the results of the survey show that, in the past five years, more women have been encouraged to join the industry, particularly while the market was hot, and that women in real estate overall are better off than they were at the start of the new millennium..

"Companies have been more committed, diligent and effective at their entry and junior level hiring and promotions of women," said Champoux, an attorney with Sullivan and Worcester who serves on the CREW Network Industry Research Task Force which issued the study.

95% of women surveyed during the CREW Convention in Atlanta, either agreed or strongly agreed that women now have more opportunities in the real estate industry. However, according to Champoux, women are still discriminated against when it comes to salary and advancement.

"According to the CREW Industry Research Study released in October 2005, as a general rule, women's compensation is generally not comparable to their male counterparts. The really interesting and surprising thing about the statistic is that the majority of women did not realize that a discrepancy existed in their respective compensation levels," Champoux said.

According to that survey, women largely attributed that lack of awareness to too little information about compensation and the perception that compensation discrepancies must exist simply because there appear to be a comparable number of women held midlevel and junior positions.

"There is a widespread perception that senior positions were held by men who tended to train, mentor and promote men over women for a variety of reasons--ranging from perceptions on their part that women, particularly those with children, are less committed to the company and less likely to contribute to the bottom line, to such simple things as being more comfortable with, socializing with and promoting, 'their own kind'," Champoux said. During the recent national CREW convention, 89% of women agreed that their goals were to reach the top rungs of the ladder during their career.

The complete CREW survey provides ways for companies to better retain and advance qualified women within their organizations, and ways in which women can empower change for themselves. Champoux suggests more methods, such as providing management with more resources to communicate a gender-neutral environment; conducting training sessions for women on topics like successful rainmaking and leadership; educating employees about misperceptions about women in the workplace.

If the CREW survey is any indication, industry women themselves are headed in the right direction.

"The strong support of our organization and these amazing survey results demonstrate that women are becoming leaders, are ambitious and are succeeding. I think we will see a much different commercial real estate workplace in another five years," said Gail Ayers, CREW Network CEO.
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Author:Wolffe, Danielle
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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