Bayut, the region’s leading property portal, hosted a high-profile webinar as part of its popular online series, The State of Real Estate, focusing on the role and contributions made by women in the real estate sector ahead of the Emirati Women’s Day celebrations in the city.
Moderated by Fibha Ahmed, the Sales Director for Bayut and dubizzle Property, the webinar brought together noteworthy female leaders from the UAE’s property market, to engage in a meaningful discussion on how women in the country’s real estate sector had to instantly pivot in the face of unprecedented market upheavals and changes brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The three guests; Safura Abasniya, General Manager & Partner at Aston Pearl Real Estate; Zeina Khoury, CEO at High Mark Real Estate; and Katie Savage, Director at The Urban Nest, spoke about the challenges they had to face and overcome in the past few months.
The session also highlighted the important contributions made by women towards UAE’s growth across key business sectors and emphasised the importance of gender diversity in the real estate market, emulating the UAE government’s equal opportunity goals through its workforce and initiatives.
All three of the leaders, who are also working mothers, narrated the challenges of maintaining work-life balance in the face of work from home routines and accommodating their children’s needs during lockdown.
Crediting their success during this challenging time to the support from their families along with self-discipline and time management, the trio also shared their experiences of using this period to re-educate themselves and upskill according to the needs of the market. They also highlighted the supportive environment the UAE government offers for women of all nationalities to thrive and flourish as entrepreneurs and leaders in the UAE.
Their observations tied in with the Emirati Women’s Day theme for this year — ‘Preparing for the next 50 years: Women are the support of the nation.’ The panellists were also happy to note that female investors accounted for a sizable portion of the real estate transactions in the city and have also been actively using their financial independence to support the needs of the economy. As per the latest data released by DLD, the second quarter of 2020 saw 1,781 women finalising nearly 2,000 deals worth AED 2.6 billion, while the statistics for the entire first half of 2020 show 4,536 women investors invested a total of AED 6.6 billion over 5,000 deals. This cements female investors’ status as seasoned and significant contributors in the sector.
Bayut as an organisation has always been on the forefront in championing workplace diversity and gender equality, providing equal opportunities for women as part of its successful business model. Nearly 40% of Bayut’s employees are women, and almost 50% of the top management positions at Bayut are held by strong, female leaders. Sahar Khan as Bayut’s Director of Marketing, Mahvish Bari as the Director of Industry Marketing, Fibha Ahmed in the role of Sales Director, Melissa Denham as the HR Manager, and Suzanne Gandy as HR Director, have lead the company with a well-rounded and strategic approach that has propelled Bayut’s success in a short time.
Haider Ali Khan, CEO of Bayut, said: “Our female employees have played an indispensable part in building the company and the brand. In my professional and personal life, I never cease to be amazed by the ability of women to wear many hats and juggle their responsibilities while bringing a valuable, nurturing facet to everything they undertake.
“On the occasion of Emirati Women’s Day, it is also important to highlight and respect the achievements made by Emirati women in the UAE, whose remarkable success under the country’s stellar leadership is something that countries across the world should emulate and embrace. I look forward to seeing more women entering the UAE’s workforce, making a difference, adding value, creating impact and driving success stories. I firmly believe that there is no gender and limit to success, and women in the UAE and around the world are a testament to that.”