100 years and the long and winding road to equality

By Alex Egan

100 years on from the hard-won initial battles of the suffrage movement, there are still some gender divisions that need to be actively fought to achieve full equality for women. The hardy and fearless women who fought the prevailing winds to sow the seeds of change, knew only too well that their goals would not be gifted to them.  They knew the road to equality would be long and arduous.  

The Property Industry is, I’m sure, not alone in the fact that it is still very male dominated.  It remains skewed in terms of demographic, and there is still stark inequality in the distribution of power and influence, particularly at the top.  It is self-evident that this situation will not somehow magically fix itself.  Change has been noticeable over the last 20 years but it has been stuttering and painfully slow.

The combination of systemic prejudice, apathy and general inertia which surrounds entrenched cultural norms takes a great deal of effort by all stakeholders to overcome.  In case it’s not clear in this instance, by ‘all stakeholders’ I very much mean everyone.  Men and women both have parts to play, as we are all stakeholders in this.  Arguably, men have a bigger part to play in the sense that there are more men in positions of power and influence than women.  It will require many more of these individuals to be actively pursuing change rather than passively accepting it.

Opposition to a cause is often much easier to overcome than apathy.  At least if someone holds an opposing view of something, it requires thought and effort to hold that view.  It also implies that it may be possible to change or reshape perspectives with logic, reasoning and discourse.  There are still a few backwards-thinking individuals tragically clinging on to archaic and prejudicial views.  However, one hundred years of logic, reasoning and discourse (not to mention a whole lot more blood, sweat and tears) has (to some extent) succeeded in convincing the substantial majority of the population that equality is an absolute right.  However, a gender divide remains in all aspects of our society, as evidenced by the various high profile public disputes around gender pay disparity in our leading institutions of late.  And it needs to be proactively addressed….

As Sandi Toksvig explains; ‘Women's equality won't just happen - not unless more women are put in positions of power’.  If you haven’t watched her Ted Talk explaining what the Women’s Equality Party is, and indeed why it needs to exist in this day and age, then here it is for your viewing pleasure:  



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