German. Deutsche. My first educational exposure to global-ness (is that a thing?), was in 11th grade. We had to choose a language to study and I heard French was difficult to learn so I chose German. Plus, my last name is Mann—many, many German ancestors. Mrs. Perry was our very enthusiastic French and German teacher. Through the rest of high school and in college, I studied German. While I believe I was conversational in German by the end of my college career, Dr. Badanas might not agree!
I truly did love learning German. Both of my teachers imparted not only language skills in their instruction, but also cultural and historical knowledge. I remember Mrs. Perry showing many slides of Germany during class. She loved talking about the history and ensured we saw the impact of and understood the Holocaust. Her love and excitement made me curious about Germany and German people—and it prompted me to wonder what else I needed to know and understand about the world?
As we look ahead to International Women’s Day on March 8, I recognize that my humble beginning as a German student was the foundation of my desire to grow and understand other languages and people. With this upcoming day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the world, I reflect not only on the woman who inspired me in the German language and culture, but also recognize this day as an opportunity to push for progress in equity and parity for all women. At the current rate of progress globally, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report indicates parity is another 216 years away. This is way too long!
On March 8, I’ll also be headed to Cannes, France for MIPIM 2020. MIPIM draws more than 26,000 commercial real estate (CRE) experts and thought leaders from around the globe to network, do business and learn from one another. It is also an ideal platform to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities in our industry and advocate for needed change.
For more than 30 years, CREW Network has been focused on gender equity and advancing women in the industry. Equity is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. Through our industry-leading research on gender and diversity in commercial real estate, we know that women are paid less and promoted less often than their male counterparts. And, we know that women don’t have equal access to mentors, sponsors and the high-profile clients and business that men do.
CREW Network’s 2015 Benchmark Study Report: Women in Commercial Real Estate found a 23.3% gender pay gap among industry professionals. The gap begins to widen at mid-career and increases to nearly 30% in the C-suite. Our 2020 benchmark study will provide an update on our progress in closing this gap and advancing more women and people of color in leadership roles. I encourage you to participate in the benchmark study and help us measure these critical data points. We need both men and women to participate!
From an economic standpoint, if women participate in the economy identically to men, it could add up to $28 trillion to the annual global GDP in 2025—approximately the size of the U.S. and Chinese economies today.
While women are gaining ground in the profession, the majority are experiencing advancement barriers including gender bias. In 2017, 65% of CRE professionals said they have personally experienced or observed gender bias against women in their workplace in the last five years.
Gender equity and diversity and inclusion efforts are no longer just the “right thing to do.” As our research indicates, these efforts result in clear business advantages and measurable market growth, and, therefore, must be a priority in our workplaces.
Continue the conversation and celebrate women's achievement with us at MIPIM. We’ll be hosting a Networking Reception with Cushman & Wakefield on March 10 and sponsoring the
Gend’Her Networking Event on March 11. Join us for business networking, to learn about CREW Network, and meet leading women in the industry. See all of our events at MIPIM.
What would equality look like in CRE? Let’s not wait 216 years to find out. Take collective action and share ownership for driving gender parity—what will you do to make a positive difference for women today?
In the words of Mrs. Perry, Vorwärts und aufwärts!
Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.
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