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There are only three women CEOs in SA’s listed property sector, a woeful statistic considering there are 50 real estate counters on the JSE. This poor representation of women is not just at executive level and commentators say that this embarrassing situation needs to change. "Gender diversity is a subject we pay attention to and discuss with the boards of real estate investment trusts (Reits) in terms of their succession planning process," says Robert Lewenson, head of environmental, social and governance engagement at Old Mutual Investment Group. "Reits generally recognise there is a real problem and that the industry is still a white boys’ club, and they are trying to find ways of improving diversity. "We have seen some positive movement on the boards of the bigger Reits — recent director appointments at Redefine, Hyprop and Vukile come to mind," he says. Lewenson says research is being done about what stops women from rising to top corporate positions. He says more in-depth work...

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