The South African Institute of Valuers (SAIV) emphasises the importance of women being recognised as equal players among their male counterparts in the field of valuation and property.
Having assumed various roles, including positions of leadership in the valuation and property sector, SAIV VP Natalie Ginsberg says working in a male-dominated industry means that, more often than not, women have to work harder to prove their worth, that they are competent and can deliver on the same level as their male counterparts, she adds.
This requires women to be confident, assertive and always stand their ground, especially those entering the valuation and property industry.
Safety is also a challenge, adds Ginsberg.
“Female valuers are, unfortunately, not immune to the safety issues that the country is grappling with. Conducting valuations very often requires one to physically inspect properties in all corners and areas of the country.”
Despite these challenges, there has been a gradual increase in the number of women entering the valuators industry over the years, but SAIV GM Lerato Pooe says this is not nearly enough.
“There is a lot of improvement still to be made and because the valuation profession is currently recognised as a scarce skill, we hope that having obtained this recognition will also drive more women to the profession.”
The SAIV, therefore, aims to ensure the inclusion of women and take a deliberate stance within the institution and its executive structure.
Pooe says the SAIV ensures that it provides the necessary exposure for women members by showcasing their success in the profession; ultimately, this also presents women considering a profession in the industry with a positive outlook.
The SAIV tries to create a platform for dialogue, especially with the young women entering the profession, so that matters regarding the profession can be addressed, she adds.
One of the tools the institute uses to empower women in the sector is its SAIV Bursary Programme. The programme provides funding opportunities for students studying towards a valuation-related qualification that is recognised by the South African Council for the Property Valuers Profession from their second year.
“We are actively trying to assist as many up-and-coming valuers of all genders as we can and, through the programme, we are giving those students a key to unlock career opportunities, and providing entry to the profession to become the future leaders of our country,” says Pooe.
The bursary programme has made strides, with more than double the number of students – from undergraduate to postgraduate – supported this year.
Ginsberg says the long-term goal of the programme is “to bring new blood into the profession” and, in doing so, the recipients will give back to the institution and the profession in the long term.
This goal is being achieved, with some bursary recipients serving on SAIV branch committees and being instrumental in SAIV affairs, she says.
Ginsberg emphasises that “ensuring high-quality work and acting with honesty and integrity” has helped her to establish herself in the profession and industry in general.