The real estate industry from a gender perspective

Abstract: The Real Estate Industry from a Gender Perspective is a study about the real estate industry in Sweden. The real estate industry, an industry dominated by men, is facing at least two major challenges in the future; there is a generational shift and an educational shift in the industry. The industry has to be able to attract both women and men in the future. In this study my overall aim is to create understanding of the real estate industry, from a gender perspective, and to do so I will create understanding how the gender structure is created in the industry, and why it is constituted as it is. I use the theoretical approach of doing gender, where the assumption is that gender is created in interaction and it varies in time and place. My empirical material is commercial real estate companies and housing companies in Sweden. I initially mapped annual reports to see how the number of women and men was constituted in the companies and in different positions in the years of 2001 and 2008. I used the information from the mapping for my respondents to react upon, interviews was made with younger graduate women and men, and women working as CEO´s. There is a vertical and horizontal division between women and men in the organizations, men are to a greater extent CEO´s and more often in technical positions, women are more often in the supporting positions. The position of the real estate manager is a key position to do career in the industry and is symbolized as a masculine position. What I found was that there is “something going on” about the gender structure in the industry, but slowly. There are the same proportion of women and men in the industry in 2001 as it is in 2008, both in the commercial real estate companies and housing companies. There are more women working as CEO´s and in the management boards in the housing companies than in the commercial real estate companies. Different organizational gendered processes create the gender structure, that form the divisions, as symbols and images, interaction and identity, these processes try to answer how the gender structure is created in the industry. I found that the hegemonic engineering masculinity and the homosocial enactment made by men is part of the answer why it is created as it is.