Women are reportedly the largest group of property buyers in South Africa today. They are, however, underrepresented and largely unacknowledged and unheard in the property sphere, according to specialist sectional title attorney and BBM Law director Marina Constas.
“Women may be snapping up properties, but they are still being left out in the cold when it comes to holding leadership positions and having their voices heard in the property sector. I am regularly consulted about conflicts in which women involved in different aspects of sectional title – from tenants and owners to trustees – are ignored and even bullied in what is still a largely male-dominated industry,” Constas says. Recognising the need for gender balance in the South African property industry, she has founded a platform that aims to connect, support and develop women involved in the growing and dynamic sectional title sector.
“Women in Sectional Title” (WiST) will be officially launched with an informative webinar on 3 September. “Our vision is to unite women from all areas of sectional title in one vibrant, collaborative community. WiST will enable women to network, learn, share knowledge, collaborate with and inspire each other, while gaining access to the resources they need to succeed in this field,” Constas reveals.
Who should join?
Outlining who should join the WiST community, she explains that it is aimed at managing agents, real estate agents, property developers, property investors, legal professionals, trustees, owners, students and those aspiring to a career in sectional title.
“WiST will offer networking events, educational programmes, mentoring and advocacy for all women in sectional title,” she states. “The platform will promote diversity, equality and professionalism in sectional title in South Africa. By creating awareness of sectional title and the opportunities therein, and making it more accessible and appealing to young women, our goal is to build a skilled, representative sectional title community that is enriched by diversity and in which everyone can thrive and advance.”
The co-author of “Demystifying Sectional Title”, the first consumer friendly South African book on sectional title property issues, Constas is well-placed to inspire, motivate and educate women in the sector. In addition to presenting local and international workshops and seminars on sectional title matters, she is a regular contributor to magazine and newspaper columns and a sought-after guest on radio and television shows. Constas has served on the board of the Community Schemes Ombud Service, is accredited with The London School of Mediation and is a Fellow of the Association of Arbitrators. She has been honoured by The Lyceum Club of Greek Women for Excellence in Law.
WiST Steering committee
Constas will serve on the WiST steering committee alongside Sheena Scott, Lesedi Monamodi, Annette Laing and Serena De Freitas.
Sheena Scott is an attorney and director in the sectional title and litigation departments at BBM Law. She is a qualified notary and conveyancer. Scott is passionate about promoting gender equality as it is an ongoing global issue in the property and legal fields and the general workforce. “It is of paramount importance that women show up for one another and support each other in every way possible,” she says. “This is the reason that I jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the Women in Sectional Title initiative.”
An Associate at BBM Law, Lesedi Monamodi is passionate about the empowerment of previously disadvantaged women and is a fierce campaigner in the fight against gender-based violence. She holds three degrees from the University of Witwatersrand: A Bachelor of Arts (Psychology and Law), a Bachelor of Laws (LLB), and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Psychology. Having been mentored by influential female attorneys, she says that she recognises the importance of women helping women and coming together to create opportunities to share knowledge and experience.
Managing agent Annette Laing is the principal and co-founder of the Cape Town based property consulting firm that bears her name. She established Annette Laing Property Consultants more than 20 years ago, after a 30-year career in the banking sector. Leveraging her experience and knowledge in home loans and property management, she decided to open a property consulting business that has since gone from strength to strength, starting with sales, moving into rentals, and finally expanding into sectional title.
Serena De Freitas is a long-standing member of the NAMA (National Association of Managing Agents) KwaZulu-Natal Committee and the founder of a property management business and a financial services firm. She says that property management, especially sectional title, is her passion, and that serving on the NAMA committee for seven years has been a truly rewarding experience. “Sharing knowledge with other professionals in the property management industry has been invaluable, and I am very excited about the opportunity to support and develop women in the sectional title sector through this new platform,” she comments.
To find out more about Women in Sectional Title, including how you and your organisation can get involved, please attend the launch webinar on 3 September 2020 at 11:00. Go https://www.eventbrite.com/e/women-in-sectional-title-launch-event-tickets-116612277461 to register or contact Lola da Costa for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 011 622 3622.
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