International Women's Day

Development finance industry gets behind International Women's Day

Today (8th March) marks International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, in addition to further accelerating gender parity.

In an ongoing mission to encourage more females into finance and property, DFT has asked numerous women from the property development, construction, and finance sectors for their personal experiences, how they got into the roles they are in today, and advice for others looking to pursue a similar career.

We hope that this will help boost the presence of women in the press, raise awareness of disparities that still exists, celebrate women’s achievements, influence positive behaviour, and attract and retain more women in this sector.

We also think it’s important to note the areas where progress is still needed.

Make sure you visit our new ESG page, where we will be posting more stories throughout the day and beyond. Happy International Women’s Day!

Darya Kolas, director at Copping Joyce

“My advice to women at the outset of their career is to start learning early and building connections. Securing placements not only helps in developing a genuine understanding of the sector — university alone is not sufficient — but helps applicants to stand out. Both the real estate and finance industries aren’t for the faint-hearted and it’s important to understand the level of work and commitment that will be required in order to make it to the top. 

“Mentorship is also very important, providing invaluable support and insight as women build their career in a very challenging environment.  

“The methods to drive more female representation needs a rethink. Our team is 50% female, but we made a conscious decision to avoid imposing quotas; it has a negative impact on the way women are perceived by colleagues and has the potential to create an unpleasant working environment. 

“Resilience is an essential quality for any leader, whether male or female, but it would be positive to see more in-house support from employers for those in high-stress positions, ensuring that women are supported both emotionally and mentally so that their careers can continue to fly.”

Arya Taware, founder and CEO of Future Bricks

“Adamant on supporting a more inclusive property environment, I have employed 50% of women in leadership positions at my firm. I am trying to help increase the representation of women by building more opportunities for them, while also spreading the message to others to do the same. By holding the door open for the next generation of female leaders, I aim to help the property sector to keep up with the evolution of women and recognise their capabilities.

“As a first-generation immigrant, I experienced an array of obstacles on my journey of being accepted in the traditional property industry. Very aware of the hardships and struggles, I have made it a priority to create a more diverse work environment, employing 70% of my workforce from ethnic minorities. A myriad of diverse perspectives breeds greater creative solutions and allows organisations to seize new opportunities. It also helps in better understanding your target market, as it opens up a diverse range of perspectives and ideas, similar to those of consumers.

“I encourage women to remain true to their inner narrative and let this determine the reality of their own journey. Choose a narrative which empowers you and is the most authentic to yourself, regardless of the beliefs of others.”

Are you a woman in the financial services industry keen to get your voice heard? Contact [email protected] — we would love to chat!

Emma Dickson, Technical Director at Arcadis and industry co-chair of the Scottish Construction Leadership Forum’s (CLF) Skills and Workforce sub group

The CLF is celebrating International Women’s Day by highlighting its work on a National Equity and Inclusion Plan for the construction industry in Scotland, which is set to drive increased inclusivity.

Funded by Scottish government, this latest initiative is part of the wider plan for the industry to develop a more diverse and inclusive workforce, giving the sector access to a wider talent pool to support growth and help to address labour shortages.

“Celebrate International Women’s Day by taking a meaningful step towards improving gender diversity in your workplace.

“The new plan will focus on meaningful action, drawing from best practice and experience. It will be critical for industry to embrace and action the recommendations; our strong industry networks and leadership groups must take the lead.

“Skills shortages, alongside the need for new green and digital skills in the sector mean that improving the diversity of our industry has never been so critical.”

Leave a comment