Track2Realty Exclusive: First influencers, then catalysts and now storming into what can be conveniently called last male bastionâ€”Real Estate. Indian women have indeed come a long way to prove that a challenging job of realty business is not a taboo for them. Even some of the mothers have excelled in real estate along with the family responsibilities and upbringing of the children. Track2Realty takes a few of such Case Studies.
When the mother of a three-year-old baby Ramya Agnihotri (name changed on request) joined a Mumbai-based real estate company around 15 years back, her peer group looked down on her, neighbours had suspicion in their eyes and colleagues visibly uncomfortable in presence of a woman.
It took around a decade for this marketing director to scale up the professional ladder, but more than that the real challenge was to make sure she is treated on an equal footing as an employee, and not as a woman, and at the same time not to neglect the upbringing of her son.
She remembers how her protective management had pulled her up for taking a client out on a site visit in absence of male colleagues. Her role was supposed to meet clients and describe the marketing brochure only within the safe four walls of office. Ramyaâ€™s story is no different from other working women in the real estate sector, an area which in collective consciousness is still largely seen as predominantly a male bastion.
Take the case of Anuradha Gandhi, the Director of Property Solutions (I) Pvt Ltd, a Kalpataru group company where she is today leading the project management, facility management and mall management services of the company. With a bachelorâ€™s degree in economics and an LLB from Mumbai University, Anuradha Gandhi is well qualified to face the multiple challenges of the real estate sector professionally, but the larger challenge at hand in her 12-years-old career has not been just professional competence, but not to compromise the upbringing of two daughters while taking up a demanding job of real estate.
â€śSee, I come from a progressive family where I had supportive parents and encouraging husband, but looking back I feel time has really changed. Even in our organisation, now around 30 per cent employees are women. The best part is that I never got any discomfort in my organisation for being a female employee who is handling the twin challenge of raising up daughters and meeting deadlines,â€ť says Gandhi.
But all mothers in the real estate didnâ€™t get that comfort zone. Sonal Shrivastav, Head of Design Development with Mumbai-based PPZ, had to deal with lot of challenges on the job. She found that it is not very easy for a working mother to take up key positions in this industry, since the industry thrives on relationships, networking and contacts. She found it to be challenging for a woman to either stay late for dinners or to share a drink with a developer in the evening to build relationships. The same is true in cases where a bridge has to be built with some obligations or bribe to be offered in the municipal council to get plans approved. These realities put women on a back foot.
â€śAt one point of time, I got an opportunity to work as a development consultant whose role starts from undertaking a full site and catchment appraisal to prepare a detailed design brief for architects and control the entire design development process and project team to adhere to this brief and vision of the developer. This process ensures that the project is sustainable from an operational and perspective and maximizes the potential of the investment of the owner. This kind of role is key to a project and allows for one to be an important team member in a project planning team.Â Today there are many such opportunities in the real estate sector which would suit a woman and she would be able to add immense value despite the existing practical constraints,â€ť says Sonal.
â€¦to be continued