INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2018 March 8
WITH women making up an estimated 46 per cent of real estate agents in WA – and outnumbering their male counterparts in property management – it is probably surprising that it was only just over 30 years ago that the brave few forged a pathway to bring gender equality to the industry.
As part of REIWA’s centenary celebrations this year, the industry body has acknowledged the extraordinary women that were pioneers in WA’s real estate landscape in a new book, A century of service.
Of them, Lyn Muir was one of the first women in WA to lead a successful property agency, although she seemingly fell into the industry.
“It was the fault of a kangaroo,” Mrs Muir said.
“An early morning mishap involving a collision with one on the road from Kalgoorlie to Perth resulted in me being picked up off the side of the road and sitting next to a real estate agent in his car for the next seven hours.
“By the time I got to Perth, I’d committed to working for him.”
Mrs Muir said the industry was almost totally male-dominated at the time when she was first registered in 1979.
“I opened the Yellow Pages and I did manage to find two companies with what appeared to be ladies’ names in their titles,” she said.
“That made me feel better about the possibility of having my own agency under by own name – surely if they could do it, so could I. It was not until many years later I discovered that both Hilary Holland and Loris La Ferla were men.”
Today, Mrs Muir is a senior sales consultant with Professionals Prowest in Willetton.
Joss Hampson was another trailblazer who began her real estate career in 1976 with Robertson Bros and obtained a licence in her own name two years later.
By 1988 Mrs Hampson became the first woman elected to REIWA council, serving for three years.
Her tenure coincided with rapid change in the industry’s gender demographic, with REIWA recording 1500 women registered for 40 per cent of the study courses available back in 1992.
Mr Hampson’s council position undoubtedly paved the way for many other women in the industry to follow in her footsteps, most notably Kareena Ballard AM.
Mrs Ballard, at the urging of her father, left a successful career in nursing at Royal Perth Hospital to become a property agent.
*A century of service is available for viewing at the State Library of WA as part of the public exhibition celebrating a century of REIWA service. The exhibition is in the State Library’s Ground Floor Gallery until May 31.
Kareena Ballard (right) presenting Susan Bailey from Homestart Realty with the multiple listing service annual award in 1987.