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Business Arena initiates a collaboration with WTRE

27 december 2018

The Nordic Real Estate Congress Business Arena initiates a collaboration with the organization WTRE, Women Talk Real Estate, in an effort to contribute to reducing the gender bias in the real estate industry.

For the past years Business Arena has made a resolute effort to increase the share of female speakers in events taking place in Sweden. Joining forces with WTRE is yet another step to reduce the gender bias among speakers in Business Arena’s events, particularly those organised outside Sweden with Business Arena London being the first.

“In Sweden, we don’t have the same difficulty as internationally in finding female speakers. This is due to the Swedish real estate industry being more gender equal, as a result of years of hard work of correcting the gender bias. In recent years, the real estate industry has consistently been the most equal industry in the Swedish economy”, says Linda Lagerdahl, Head of Content at Business Arena.

”We want to be a practical resource for all the major event organisers across the industry. Business Arena is an important forum for the Nordic, and wider European markets, and therefore a powerful platform for female experts”, says Viktorija Grubesic, Director and co-founder of WTRE, who has worked for more than 15 years in the real estate industry.

WTRE is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting women in the European real estate industry by increasing their visibility. By using the slogan “Visibility matters” WTRE has increased awareness of the uneven distribution of male and female speakers at property-related events across Europe.

”At the heart of everything we do is the concept that visibility matters. For an individual female expert, accepting a speaking engagement provides her with an opportunity to raise her profile. Collectively, if female experts are on stage more, we challenge gender stereotypes and provide more role models”, says Andrea Carpenter, Director and co-founder of WTRE and former Head of Communications at the investment management company CBRE Global Investors.

According to WTRE, the share of female speakers in real estate events across the continent is only 14 percent. This neither reflects the share of female professionals in the industry nor the diversity of the industry.

”The background to why we have not yet seen as many female experts on stage can be complex. For example, there are already fewer female experts working in what is a male-dominated industry, so if our visibility is lower, then this will mean we are harder to identify, and that is why the concept of the database works so well. We also find that there is a confidence gap for some female experts so we try to encourage more women to participate by offering training”, says Andrea Carpenter.

Lena Stark, CEO of Fastighetsnytt and Business Arena, says that the company’s ambition is always to strive for a gender equal speaker line-up.

”The real estate industry has been acknowledged, for four years in a row, as the most gender equal industry in Sweden by Allbright, a non-profit organisation working to increase the proportion of women in senior positions. Allbright projects that the industry may be able to reach gender equality in management teams by 2020. By increasing visibility of all the competent female professionals in the industry, both in Sweden and internationally, Business Arena wants to reflect the actual diversity in the industry, on stage, but also to contribute to improved gender equality in the real estate industry as a whole”, says Lena Stark.

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