The male-dominated South African property sector should bury its head in shame for sidelining the participation of women – two decades into the country’s democracy at that!
There is no safe sanctuary for women even in the property sector, as they still face barriers similar to the ones prevalent in other sectors, Transformation SA has unearthed, in a review of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and in the ‘brick and mortar’ segment.
So far, there are two women Sharon Wapnick, chairperson of Premium Properties and Octodec Investments, and Dr Anna Mokgokong, chairperson of Community Investment Holdings, who chair property companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
In the ‘brick and mortar’ segment, few majority women headed organisations are involved in property developments of note. In a research of 100 property companies, Transform SA, was appalled to discover that, less than 2% of the projects are contracted to majority women-owned entities.
However, Wapnick expressed no surprise at the trend. “There is no logical reason for this other than the lag caused by a history of discrimination. Women have excelled in business and in the various professions which are demanding and there is no real reason for them not to do the same on the directorate of companies listed on the JSE. If you think chauvinism is dead you are wrong!”
The onus is on women themselves to take the bull by the horns, she added. “Women need to be assertive and promote themselves more. “