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, says specialist sectional title attorney and BBM Law director Marina Constas.
“Women may be snapping up properties, but they’re 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 in what is still a largely male-dominated industry,” Constas says.
She has now founded a platform that aims to connect, support and develop women involved in the growing and dynamic sectional title sector.
The vision of Women in Sectional Title (WiST) 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 says.
Who should join?
The Women in Sectional Title (WiST) platform is aimed at all women involved in sectional title, including homeowners and sectional title tenants, but also trustees, managing agents, real estate agents, property developers, property investors, legal professionals, students, and those aspiring to a career in sectional title.
Disputes are bound to arise when people are living in close proximity in a sectional title development. These disputes often involve female homeowners or tenants, says Constas. “I would urge these women to get well informed; and to arm themselves with the facts on the legislation that applies to sectional title and community schemes,” she says.
They can do this through the WiST platform. It’s a place where they can get the information they need, share and resolve problems, and make connections with other women who can help to ensure that their voices are heard and their opinions considered.
What will WiST do?
“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’s enriched by diversity and in which everyone can thrive and advance.”
Who is WiST?
As co-author of Demystifying Sectional Title 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’s a regular contributor to magazine and newspaper columns and a sought-after guest on radio and television shows.
Constas will serve on the WiST steering committee alongside Sheena Scott, Lesedi Monamodi, Annette Laing and Serena de Freitas. Scott is an attorney and director in the sectional title and litigation departments at BBM Law. She’s a qualified notary and conveyancer. “It’s 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 WiST.”
An Associate at BBM Law, Monamodi is passionate about the empowerment of historically disadvantaged women and is a fierce campaigner in the fight against gender-based violence. She says that she recognises the importance of women helping women and coming together to create opportunities to share knowledge and experience.
Managing agent Laing is the principal and co-founder of the Cape Town based property consulting firm that bears her name. Her business has gone from strength to strength the past 20 years, starting with sales, moving into rentals, and finally expanding into sectional title.
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.
“Sharing knowledge with other professionals in the industry has been invaluable, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to support and develop women in the sectional title sector through this new platform,” she says.
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