Sex shouldn’t be a fac­tor, says for­mer chair­woman

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS -

FOR­MER Sun­shine Coast REIQ zone chair and agency prin­ci­pal Am­ber Wer­chon ad­mits to be­ing of two minds about the man­dated quo­tas.

The award-win­ning agent, who has worked in the in­dus­try since leav­ing school, and has clocked an­nual sales in ex­cess of $40 mil­lion, said in one re­spect to be equal it should not mat­ter what sex the di­rec­tors were.

How­ever she said in or­der to move for­ward and bal­ance out the mi­nor­ity of women, she felt the move would be pos­i­tive.

Ms Wer­chon said she did not think it was an equal­ity is­sue de­spite the in­dus­try def­i­nitely be­ing a boys’ club when she en­tered it.

“Hav­ing our CEO of the REIQ as a prin­ci­pal proves this,” she said.

“Even though equal­ity ev­ery­where should be a given, there still seems to be an un­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women at se­nior man­age­ment lev­els that needs to be ad­dressed.

“The REIQ’s Board amend­ment will help to im­prove di­ver­sity on a pub­lic level and en­cour­age women to strive for these higher po­si­tions.

“In say­ing that, it is harder for a woman to jug­gle hav­ing a fam­ily with run­ning their own busi­ness so some­times a woman’s pri­or­i­ties can be torn; they can’t com­mit the same amount of time and it re­lies heav­ily on good sup­port from hus­band, fam­ily and in­di­vid­ual cir­cum­stances.”

Where the sup­port or work flex­i­bil­ity wasn’t there, Ms Wer­chon said, it could be in­hibitive for women to reach the in­dus­try’s high lev­els which de­manded more time and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“Op­er­at­ing as a prin­ci­pal also re­quires ded­i­ca­tion, and there’s a lot of pres­sure and ac­count­abil­ity that goes with the po­si­tion.

“You have to have the drive, the pas­sion and the love for the in­dus­try. I think this ul­ti­mately de­ter­mines any­one’s longevity in it.”

She said there was un­for­tu­nately a lin­ger­ing pref­er­ence among some in the in­dus­try to work for a male boss rather than a fe­male.

“Per­haps men are still seen by some as the tra­di­tional ‘lead­ers’ in a work en­vi­ron­ment,” Ms Wer­chon said.

“But this at­ti­tude is chang­ing and more women are lead­ing the way. Take my com­pany for ex­am­ple; over half are women but we have a good bal­ance. It’s a wel­com­ing work­place and one of mu­tual re­spect, what­ever gen­der.

“We fo­cus on pay par­ity and of­fer flex­i­ble work ar­range­ments to en­cour­age more women to join us, and be­cause I’m also a mum, I un­der­stand the needs of women in the work­place.”

Photo: Contributed

MORE BAL­ANCE: For­mer Sun­shine Coast Real Es­tate In­dus­try of Queens­land chair­woman Am­ber Wer­chon is in two minds over a push for gen­der equal­ity in the in­dus­try.

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