Growing Women’s Influence Key To Addressing Gender Gap


By Danni Addison, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Development Institute of Australia in Victoria.

Gender diversity in the property and development industry is a complex challenge, but it’s a challenge that can and should inspire great hope for our sector.

They say that you can’t be what you can’t see, so when we look at the property and development industry, we need to make it our responsibility to profile and grow the influence of the women making a difference in the sector.

There are a number of highly skilled and capable women in the industry already; it is our responsibility as an industry leader to boost their profile and grow their influence.

The property and development industry must question, at every level what we can do to be more inclusive and to address unconscious biases that disadvantage women. We have a responsibility to demonstrate to women that there are opportunities for success at every level of their careers – not just in junior and medium level positions, but also in the most senior positions.

At the Urban Development Institute, we’re making a start. We work hard to ensure that men and women are equally represented throughout everything we do. We actively promote, include and profile the female voice of our industry across all of our activities, our Board and Committees and our events and speakers. We have the ability to showcase and promote the industry’s experts. Our members have an increased expectation that we do so by actively promoting diversity. This is not always an easy road. We are constantly looking for women to put themselves forward for speaking opportunities and other key positions of responsibility. And the number of men at our board table still outnumber the industry’s female voice.

This is not something we expect to change overnight, this is a longer term challenge for our industry. But we are making a start with the platform we have. We are also are working to build the confidence and influence of our industry’s women, in order to create meaningful change.

One powerful method is mentoring and leadership guidance for those who are looking for career progression.

At the Urban Development Institute, our emphasis is on profiling women already doing great work in the sector with a view to increasing the number of women in senior positions. If there aren’t clear pathways to success, if women and men aren’t equally represented at the top, the female voice and the influence of women at a decision-making level is quite simply, missing in action.

I look forward to the day when there are more smart, capable, confident women at our industry’s boardroom tables. Our industry will be stronger for it.

Danni Addison is Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Development Institute of Australia in Victoria. The Institute is Victoria’s leading advocate for the urban development industry, representing a wide range of organisations including development firms and builders, and members of the finance, planning, engineering, government and legal industries.

Republished from The Real Estate Conversation

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