Property Australia

500 Women in Property cohort selected


Now in its seventh year, 500 Women in Property celebrated International Women’s Day and championed the #BreakTheBias campaign yesterday. How do just some of our 2022 cohort think the property industry can level the playing field?

The Property Council’s 500 Women in Property program launched yesterday with a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s theme, #BreakTheBias encourages us all to call out bias that prevents women from reaching their potential. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough; action is needed to level the playing field. So, what is one step Australia’s property industry could take?


Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Tara StarrTara Starr, Assistant Development Manager, The GPT Group

“Bias is created early and therefore must be tackled early. Encouraging young women to pursue a career in property starts in school. It is imperative that young female talent see reflections of themselves in the field. Working with tertiary education departments to also expand property-related education opportunities will increase the talent pool. As the talent pool increases, organisations need to prioritise growth pathways for young female talent and actively endorse education and development of female peers at all levels. Receiving a property scholarship while at university, I experienced the first-hand benefits of endorsed mentoring programs. These programs showcased successful women in property, which allowed me to feel supported, nurtured and empowered early on in my career.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Rhiannon West

Rhiannon West, Development Manager, Hobart Airport

“One way that the property industry can #breakthebias is to understand and actively combat ‘affinity bias’. Attend a property industry event and you can usually observe a level of ‘sameness’ among the group. At work, affinity bias can be seen when leaders hire, provide opportunities to and mentor people that are similar to them or they identify with. This can often leave out women, particularly women of colour, women with disabilities and LGBT+ women. When hiring, base decisions on the concrete skills, experiences and unique qualities that would contribute to your team as a ‘culture add’ rather than ‘culture fit’. We should try to break down some of the elitism within our industry, and create an industry where everyone – regardless of background or identity – is welcomed and respected.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Renee Gumina

Renee Gumina, Project Marketing Manager, Cedar Woods

“I’m a big believer of the saying ‘You can’t be what you can’t see’. To #breakthebias, the property industry needs to be a more diverse and inclusive workforce at all levels. Young professionals in the industry require role models to draw inspiration from when setting their career goals. Facilitating networking opportunities at the entry level will enable young professionals to build strong connections that support their professional development and fast track their career progression into senior roles.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Rebecca WescombeRebecca Wescombe, Residential Marketing Specialist, Knight Frank Northern Territory

“What is one way the property industry can break the bias? By consciously creating a more comfortable environment where women can call attention to bias behaviour without feeling like they will be dismissed or disregarded. Without action we can’t expect society to change and evolve, which is why it is so important for women to keep supporting and lifting each other up.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Claudia Dalle-NogareClaudia Dalle-Nogare, Assistant Business Partner People and Culture, Renewal SA 

“I think it’s important to focus on providing more opportunities for women in senior leadership roles and also promoting and encouraging girls and women to pursue a career in the property industry. I believe this involves ensuring that organisations are focused and truly care about creating a diverse, inclusive and psychologically safe environment, where employees are all treated equally no matter what. I think it’s also important that women feel supported and encouraged to take leaps in their careers and are confident to speak up for themselves without fear of judgement.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Lunise Agosta

Lunise Agosta, Prosperity Care Manager, Frasers Property Australia

“Women are very good at self-sabotaging. We unconsciously take steps to prevent ourselves from reaching our own goals. This behaviour can affect nearly every aspect of our lives, and in turn impacts our very own self confidence. To acknowledge this in yourself so you can empower others is one way the 500 Woman in Property program can break the bias. Let’s encourage our colleagues and teams to reach higher, stop self-sabotaging, and build those up around us to reach their fullest potential.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Brittany CurranBrittany Curran, Project Manager, Turner & Townsend

“Both women and men need to be educated on how to recognise and change their own unconscious bias and how it effects women in property. One prevalent unconscious bias is the perception that an assertive woman is ‘aggressive’ while a male is described as ‘confident’. We need to retrain our cognitive thought processes to distinguish and change unconscious behaviours instead of allowing them to influence us. I have experienced gender bias from other women in the industry and I believe a great place to start is for women to understand our own biases.”



Copy of 090322 - 500 Women in Property - Elise TrenbathElise Trenbath Senior Associate, MinterEllison

“The property industry can break the bias by providing opportunities and encouraging women to get involved and demonstrate what we are capable of. By giving women opportunities to develop our skills and to provide our insights, the industry will become more and more used to seeing women as valuable members of the industry. This will help break down the conscious and unconscious bias of the industry and this will, in turn, make the industry more appealing for the next generation of women.”


Find out more about how the Property Council’s 500 Women in Property is helping more women commit, champion and lead. Or learn how International Women’s Day is striving for a gender equal world.