Only a few sectors such as RMG are women-heavy, while most sectors are entirely made up of men
The entire concept of “real estate” has been considered a male-oriented aspect since it took off in the subcontinent. It is men who primarily deal with property-related things, and who work in the real estate sector.
As a result, when someone goes to a developer or a realtor to buy a property in Bangladesh, they expect to meet an individual who is probably in their early 30s or 40s, talkative and maybe even wears a suit – that is the general stereotype of people working in this sector.
However, this all-too-common image is changing rapidly. It is no longer just men in their 30s or 40s. Young, energetic and smart individuals from prestigious educational institutions are entering the field today, and a good portion of them are women who are pioneering the march for women empowerment, and redefining stereotypical assumptions along the way.
Bangladesh ranks first in the entire South Asian region in terms of female workforce participation. But this ranking fails to paint the real picture of everyday lives. While it is true that there has been significant improvement in gender equality in Bangladesh, there is still quite a disparity between males and females in the workplace. Only a few sectors such as RMG are women-heavy, while most sectors are entirely made up of men. And as per a recent Gender Gap report published in 2018, only 10.7% of females are in important positions in the workplace in contrast to males, who dominate with 89.3%.
But that scenario, at least in real estate, is changing. The social stigma is now dissipating. There is a growing number of women in the modern real estate landscape of Bangladesh.
One of the biggest social barriers against women in real estate has been the perceived outgoing nature of the profession. Visiting clients, having meetings and showcasing properties – these activities in real estate require the individual to go out in the field when necessary, which can be during any time of the day, be it early morning, afternoon or evening.
But this “barrier” is not really a barrier anymore. The female workforce of today is dedicated, quick on their feet and persistent. Travelling is not an issue either, as there are plenty of transport options. For quick movement, many women choose to either buy their own motorcycle – a practice on the upward trend – or use a ride-sharing app. This has almost entirely eliminated the hassle that was once associated with sales jobs, especially for women in the country.
The workplace atmosphere has been another big concern for real estate as the general perception about the sector has been quite negative up until recently – mostly due to a handful of unethical practitioners. But global organizations like Bproperty are changing that perception by providing a transparent and proper workplace environment, where international human resource standards are maintained and equal opportunities for success are given. As such, regardless of gender, if an individual can prove themselves by continuously performing at their highest calibre and delivering results, they too can reach the apex of success.
Unfortunately, this is not yet an industry-wide phenomenon. Even with the recent advancements in diversity and gender equality, there are many organizations – in every sector – where disparity based on religion and sex is rampant. But the good news is, that is changing. Whereas there used to be none, there are now more than a few.
Going back to Bproperty. They are the leading real estate service and the only property solutions provider in Bangladesh. They are introducing aspects within the real estate sector that are not only novel, but are setting trends for the days to come as well. Their incorporation of the young workforce and women in prominent roles throughout the enterprise has been exemplary. When the organization started its journey, there were hardly any women directly performing real estate activities. But Bproperty decided to break the mould and hire qualified women all across the board, and currently, nearly 20% of the total 700+ workforce of Bproperty are women – many of whom are directly related to real estate and performing duties as property experts and product acquisition executives.
One of the four area heads of Bproperty, Hasina Parvin Deepa, was among the first batch of recruits in the organization and has since demonstrated the value women may and will have in the betterment of the entire sector.
Similarly, hundreds of other women in the real estate industry are setting examples every day and proving how a woman can thrive and succeed in this world just as they have in all the other worlds. Real estate is no longer exclusive to men. The dawn of the all-inclusive era has already come, and the light from that is now reaching the shores of Bangladesh.