This year, the theme for International Women’s Day (8th March 2023) is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. Join us as we celebrate the innovative women in proptech working to create a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
In this interview, we’ll be discussing the topic with Adelle Naidoo, Global Support & Training Manager at Property Inspect.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
For me, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honour women from around the world. It highlights the various “hats” women around the world wear on a daily basis, be it in their family life, careers, personal time, etc.
What are the challenges facing women in proptech today?
I don’t think inequality is specific to one sector or even a specific branch of a company. As a whole, women in the workplace are still not seen as equally competent or capable.
If one looks hard enough, we can still find subtle currents of sexism within a workplace. It is a common viewpoint that women have to work extra hard to gain leadership roles in business and I think that that can be seen in today’s business structures as well.
We need to be more cognizant of what education and experience can bring to the table, rather than the traditional societal standards.
Can you share a story about a woman who has inspired you?
There’s one woman who has continued to inspire me from the time I was a child and that is definitely my mum, Deranjini Pillay. She has been in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for 36 years, currently serving as a Group Commander, while actively helping the local community and taking care of her family and extended loved ones.
My mum is in her late 50s and is still on active duty at work. Her ability to continue pushing in her career as well as juggling her own personal health issues is and will always be awe-inspiring.
Apart from her work life, my mum is the kindest person I know and she’s always willing to lend a helping hand. She raised my siblings and me to always treat anyone we encounter with respect and humility. She is truly a super woman!
What progress have you seen in gender equality in your industry over the past year?
I can confidently say I love the diversity and team dynamic within my own workplace. It is truly refreshing to work alongside an extremely multifaceted team, where everyone is encouraged to share their thoughts and motivated to be included.
In the proptech sphere specifically, I can attest to the growth taking place as I joined this industry just over a year ago, without any prior experience in the property sector. Throughout my time, I have gained a wealth of knowledge that has encouraged me to share and enlighten others in this market.
How can we ensure women are included in proptech conversations?
Inclusivity can only be accomplished with kindness, and that is something that definitely needs to be encouraged on a daily basis. It is our responsibility as humans to recognize each other in our strengths, but also to guide and support in any weaknesses.
How can others advance gender equality and be better allies to women?
We can advance gender equality and be better allies by holding each other accountable for our actions. Sometimes this is much easier said than done, but this is the only way that sets the tone for the environment we want to promote. We are all responsible for the environment we create, not just for women, but for the diverse space we share.
How can we encourage more women to pursue careers in male-dominated fields in the industry?
In my opinion, discipline is what takes someone to the next level. The working world is quickly evolving with the trends, specifically with the fashion of breaking generational standards and societal norms. The more discipline we as women have in our talent and skill, the quicker we deepen our roots into the foundation of where we want to grow.
What policies/initiatives promote women’s empowerment and gender equality?
One of the greatest reveals that our generation has learned with the Covid-19 pandemic is the notion of a global community. More and more companies are realising that talent is not only limited to within the same region, nationality or country.
This is a massive plug into a gap that many people, especially women, have faced when it comes to job opportunities. I myself am a testament to this; a young South African woman working for a worldwide corporation whose offices are based in another part of the world.
What message do you have for young women starting their careers in proptech?
This might sound incredibly clichéd, but don’t stop trying and putting in the effort. Our societal norms are built with past experience but can be easily shaped with today’s knowledge and persistence. If we stay disciplined and committed to living a better life and making a difference for others, we will always succeed.
What steps can we take on International Women’s Day and beyond to support women and advance gender equality?
This initiative right here is the best way to start. Word of mouth is the greatest form of advertising. The more we continue the conversation around empowerment and growth, coupled with kindness, the more change we can bring into our space and the world at large.
Share your story using #IWD23 and #EmbraceEquity on social media.