Sex shouldn’t be a factor, says former chairwoman
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.”
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.