You're probably thinking this is just another post for Women's History Month and you're partially correct. However, women and the history of women in Real Estate needs to be celebrated.
Women have been an integral part of the real estate industry since its inception back in the 1700s. In 1839, women were allowed to own property, but only in the state of Mississippi. Twenty plus years later, in 1862, The U.S. Homestead Act allowed widows to claim land. It wasn't until 1910, that The National Association of Realtors accepted its first woman realtor. Almost 30 years later, in 1938, the Women's Council of Realtors was created. Following that, in 1978, women comprised the majority of REALTORS® representing 65 percent of the membership in 2021.
Although, the NAR has been a male dominated organization since its inception in 1908, female membership saw steady growth over the first several decades. NAR has seen seven female presidents, most recently, 2022 NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith.
It has been known that women are attracted to real estate for a multitude of reasons, specifically, the flexible work hours, ability to maintain a busy family life, and the opportunities to help other families. According to LendingTree and The New York Times, women own more homes than men. In fact, 10.76 million U.S. homes were owned and occupied by single women, while 8.12 million were owned and occupied by single men.
While balancing a career, a family, and a personal life, women have been shattering the glass ceiling for a long time. In fact, they still are. They began forging their own path in the early 1900s by creating a Women's Council of REALTORS®. In order to join the NAR, women needed to be a part of their local real estate board which, they were inherently banned from joining thus forced them to create their own.
Some trailblazers to note:
Ebby Halliday began her business in the late 1930s where she dominated the Dallas residential real estate market. Her success has been contributed to her passion for others and her unwavering dedication. Although, Ebby died in 2015, her firm continues to sell homes and at the time of her death it was the largest independently owned residential real estate company in Texas and the 10th-largest in the country.
Dorcas Helfant was the first female president of the NAR. She was elected in 1992 and was also the first woman to serve as the president of her state association. Helfant is most notably known for the key merger of her own real estate firm with Caldwell Banker firms.
Abby Hamlin, the founder and president of Hamlin Ventures, has broken barriers in areas most women and many men fear to go. Abby's goal has been to use real estate and urban design to enhance the lives of others. Her most notable and successful endeavor was her development in Brooklyn for formerly homeless and low-income individuals. Her firm remains one of the few successful female-owned development firms.
Debra Cafaro is in a league of her own. She took over the helm at Ventas, a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in 1999. The firm was facing bankruptcy and the sole tenant of the properties had stopped paying rent. The firm was $1 billion in debt and there were claims of Medicare fraud. Debra brought the firm back to life and is now one of only 23 CEOs named by Harvard Business Review for four consecutive years and one of only two women on the 2017 list. In 2020, Forbes Magazine recognized her as among the 100 most powerful women in the world!
The Gamble Group understands the value of women in Real Estate and supports the growth/inclusion of women in residential real estate as well as in leadership positions.
Happy Women's History Month to all our fellow female REALTORS®, brokers, agents, and administrative assistants!
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