MIPIM 2019: Creating a balanced future for women in real estate

Emma Long, Commercial Director at BCA members BizSpace, has written for the BCA about her experience of attending MIPIM this month.

The curtains have now closed on MIPIM 2019. It was a slightly chaotic yet exciting few days with more than just the stunning views to take in.

Prior to a fantastic week of networking and insightful discussions about the future of the property industry, I was unsure what to expect from my first time trip to the conference. 

Like many ‘newbies’, I was aware the ratio of female to male attendees at MIPIM is somewhat unequal. There are more than 26,000 delegates attending each year, less than a third of whom are women. 

This was brought into sharp focus during my flight from London to Nice. I was chatting with the flight attendants, who commented that their usually quiet pre-spring flight had been packed all week and, noting the abundance of male passengers, asked if the event was exclusive to men.

In truth, I was slightly taken aback by this question. My career in the property industry began over 20 years ago and I have never felt like a woman in a man’s world. Nonetheless, for anyone forging a career in the property sector and attending the industry’s principal conference, it can be daunting to be faced with so many veterans who have mixed in property circles for decades. So, we need to ensure we encourage and welcome new female talent to attend MIPIM, and help redress any perception of imbalance. 

Nonetheless, as Commercial Director of the largest flexible workspace provider in the UK, it is my responsibility to act as a role model for younger generations and encourage more women to enter what I believe to be an extremely vibrant and rewarding sector. Both men and women across the industry have taken significant steps forward, we must continue to push boundaries if we are to change the perception of property as a male-dominated industry. 

We are already moving very much in the right direct. For example, this year at MIPIM there were many inspirational women on panels across the four-day conference. There were also a number of networking events for women, including the Gender Diversity in Real Estate, Supporting a Diverse Industry, and Women’s Cocktail Hour events. Each of these gatherings offered women a platform to swap tips and discuss the changing face of real estate. The general consensus was that the gender balance in the property industry is finally starting to shift, bringing a new wave of talent into the profession, and with it, fresh ideas and outlooks. This is something we are all – men and women – extremely excited to see.

MIPIM this year may have shown that the property sector still has work to do to achieve true gender diversity. However, it was also clear that the industry is eager to address this imbalance. It was fantastic to be part of an event that is shaping the property sector for the future and championing female participation. 

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