Buying, selling, renovating and renting property is no longer a boy’s game. A 2016 survey conducted by HSBC, revealed that 59% of business owners under the age of 35 were female – a sizable number of which were choosing to invest in property.
Currently accounting for two in five landlords in the UK, women have come a long way; keeping in mind, less than a hundred years ago, women were unable to inherit their husband’s property. It was only after legislation in 1926 that women were allowed to hold and dispose of property on the same terms as men.
Even before government rulings made it legally viable; women have been pioneering property sector for centuries. In honour of Women’s History Month, we’re reflecting on the brilliant ladies who’ve helped push boundaries and define our industry.
Lady Anne Clifford
The first woman in recorded history to have led building projects, Lady Anne Clifford (1590-1676) was the last member of one of England’s great medieval dynasties who spent 44 years of her life in a fierce legal battle to gain control of her inherited property portfolio. When Clifford finally took control of the assets, she dedicated three decades of her life to restoring all five castles to their former glory – as well as constructing alms-houses for poor widows and repairing a number of churches in the area.
Ethel Mary Charles
Barred from the attending the Architectural Association School on the grounds of being a woman; instead going to Bartett School of Architecture, Ethel Mary Charles (1871 – 1962) achieved distinction grades. She was subsequently able to pass various examinations for the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – becoming the first female member in 1898.
Commercial commissions and large-scale developments were reserved for men; therefore Charles was forced to exercise her architectural talents on modest housing projects and labourers cottages. Nevertheless, she became a role model for aspiring female architects at the beginning of the 20th century – inspiring generations to follow.
Breaking new ground
Over the past 50 years, women have steadily gained ground whilst attaining financial independence through property investment. In the realm of asset management; female representation has made promising advancements – with boards increasing from 23% three years ago to 27%. The numbers of women on executive committees has also increased to 18% – up from 15% in 2016. These averages are not far off the FTSE100, where 27% of board positions and 19% of executive committee roles are held by women.
While there are many great contemporary icons in the sector, from Alison Nimmo – the chief executive of The Crown Estate equipped with a property portfolio estimated at £10 billion, to Madeleine Cosgrave – head of European real estate at GIC, there is still much progress to be made. Hard targets are the way forward for businesses; from gender-blind pay analysis, mentor schemes and ensuring team activities are non-sexist and inclusive – simple but effective methods to ensure a contented, gender-balanced, work environment.
Applying a distinctive vision to property since 1992; Targetfollow are constantly seeking new innovations to further distinguish ourselves in the sector. In obtaining this; we understand the importance of diverse perspectives and allowing talented visionaries to lead us into the future.