The Invisible Woman

Undervalued and Underestimated – The Invisible Woman! There are more women than men in Australia. Women also comprise just under 1/2 of all employees in Australia, with female “self-purchasing” on a steep upward trajectory. A recent report by Ernst & Young estimates that by the year 2028 women will control about 80% of discretionary spending worldwide, and will own about 1/3 of all businesses around the world.

Yet women remain undervalued and underestimated in the marketplace. It would seem that the property industry still sees its target audience as primarily male, even while research shows that women are becoming increasingly more influential as consumers and decision makers. How often do we still see women stereotyped and marginalised by companies failing to understand the demands from women as independent, intelligent and informed consumers?

A recently launched marketing campaign by a new online bookmaker caught our eye; and not in a good way! Screening on TV, in cinemas and across digital platforms, the ad is a sad indictment of what is obviously deemed as an industry norm. The 30sec NEDS Ad portrays a woman who appears to be seeking an update from her builder on the progress of the build of a new house. Watch it and you will notice a few very important behaviours:

  1. The builder is holding the plan and takes charge from the opening shot, while the woman wears a questioning frown throughout the clip.
  2. The female always stands behind the male lead character, never uttering an entire sentence. The one time she goes to ask a question, he cuts her off and walks away.
  3. You can’t help but cringe at the mansplaining that is going on. Who would have thought that you need a roof to install solar roof panels?
  4. Her reaction? A silent protest, walking off in apparent exasperation.
  5. Yet the response by the builder and the tradesmen? Amusement and laughter!

Apparently this approach is intended to put the brand in a position “to genuinely connect with the modern Aussie bloke“. If this is indeed a reflection of how the participants in the building industry view their female clients, it is no wonder that women complain about not being heard and not feeling in control of the building process.

Too often have we heard feedback from women from all walks of life, including often highly accomplished, professional females, who suddenly feel daunted and overwhelmed when dealing with trade professionals and builders. Time and time again anecdotes are shared by women who asked a question of a building professional, only to have the answer addressed to the male standing next to them! It seemingly is worse when there isn’t a man there at all. It is precisely this challenge that we are looking to address at Build in Common. Responses such as “Trust me”, “Leave that to me to worry about” and “Are you sure you are able to do that?” should become a thing of the past.

Yes, we believe that common industry behaviour and stereotyping desperately needs to change, but we also are strong advocates that women need to become part of the answer as well. Let’s shift gears by learning more about the building process itself, be active in showing we are more than simply “design and colour”, and empower ourselves by knowing the right questions to ask of which professional, whether architect, designer, builder or tradesman.

The challenge is to inform and educate ourselves. You can only get the right answer if you know the right question to ask!

Would you like to contribute or Partner With Us? We’d love to hear from you. Share your knowledge with our community and together we can empower women to complete their building project. Or simply stay in touch and subscribe today and be part of our growing community of like-minded women.