More equality means more success, says Harcourts CEO

A female franchise boss has used International Women's Day to urge men and women to fight together to end industry inequality.

Harcourts’ chief executive for Victoria, Sadhana Smiles, said the industry offers great opportunity for women at sales level because they have the flexibility to combine work with family responsibilities.

However, Ms Smiles told Real Estate Business that women are underrepresented at leadership level, and that this has a negative effect on the industry.

“It’s been proved time and time again that businesses that have a gender-balanced environment are far more successful than those that don’t,” she said.

“Women are key decision-makers when it comes to renting, buying or selling and we’ve got to have that reflected in the businesses we run.”

Ms Smiles said the problem won’t be solved unless men work with women to fight for change and to support the rise of qualified women into management positions.

International Women's Day is a great opportunity for franchises to highlight the value of women, she said, but one that some are wasting.

Ms Smiles said Harcourts Victoria had decided to send an International Women's Day message to all its staff.

“It’s also about asking men to join us and to voice the fact that businesses have the most success when men and women work together,” she said.

“If all of us at business level – whether male or female – took a decision to make something happen around this issue, we would effect some level of change.”

International Women's Day took place on March 8.

[Related: Is equality in our industry still an issue?]

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