OPINION – What is wrong with women?

Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman…”

This age-old saying is one that’s now likely to cause understandable consternation.

For whilst it was once well intended and designed to acknowledge that ‘successful men’ are only such because of the support they receive from their spouse, it is nonetheless condescending in its assumption that men are the ‘successes’ in a work sense and women ‘support’ them from a position of domestic servitude.

It’s straight out of the ‘How To Be a Good Wife’ handbook of the 1950’s and has no place in the 21st century – not that it ever did at all.

In the context of the estate agency industry (and as I’m quoting old sayings) let’s instead turn to one that I rather prefer to illustrate the essence of this piece…

If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman

The late, great Margaret Thatcher said this and she should know because she was, after all a woman and a woman, no matter where your political allegiances lie, that got things done for better or for worse, one way or the other.

And so it is that in my 25 year property career it has been my experience that the best estate agents are women.

The occasional fella sneaks into my list of greats but predominantly the trophies that I gave out, the league tables that were topped and the accolades I bestowed were on female members of the teams that I have been responsible for.

Lisa Butcher, Jackie Jones, Natalie Loizou, Jo McNeilly, Joanne Quirk, Tracy Empson, Kath Taylor, Louise Maher, Lisa Grimwood, Lauren Rutherford, Elle Osborne, Claire Readings, Hannah Turner, Stacey Warwick… take a bow. You are just some that stand out to me as best in class.

Why are women the best negs, the best listers, the best sales progressors and the best branch managers?

I am not an expert on female psychology, my wife and daughters will certainly attest to that, and so I can only guess at why – but here’s a few suggestions:

  • Women are more diligent than men
  • Women are more conscientious
  • Women are better organised
  • Women have less ego
  • But women also care more about others and their welfare – women have more empathy

This article is not some attempt at amateur gender psychology as ‘why’ they are better at the job is not really my point.

It’s simply just so and that’s that.

Proportionally, the best in our industry that I have seen are not blokes and in fact I’d go further such is that the majority of the issues I’ve had to deal with around unreliable staff, erratic performance, questionable social habits and general aggro – have involved men.

  • Most likely to not turn up to work due to a hangover? Men
  • Most likely to be fired for drug use? Men
  • Most likely to cause upset to customers through unreliability, false promises or rudeness? Men
  • Most likely to crash a company car into a ditch? Men

Your experiences may be different of course.

Your professional journey perhaps littered with male dominated anecdotes of superiority – maybe.

But I can only tell it how it is from a 25-year life in the property business and in settings that range from a five branch Essex firm to a venture backed online agency and across a good few hundred team members hired along the way.

But the point of this story is this…

Why do major estate agency companies not promote/hire women to the most senior levels within their businesses?

Why is our industry led by men?

It seems so out of whack that the property sector is dominated in performance terms by penises, so to speak.

So I ask again, ‘what is wrong with women’?

And I mean this from the seeming perspective of the industry’s chairmen (yes, men) and boards whom obviously think there is something of the inadequate about the fairer sex or else why are there not more female CEOs, managing directors and board members at the helm of our big corporate organisations?

Of the CEOs that run the top 100 biggest companies in the UK across all industries just 6 are women. That’s bad enough.

But within the UK’s largest estate agency firms there’s just one female CEO.

Glynis Frew is on her own at the top and is also the only female board director at Hunters.

No other major estate agency brand has currently hired or promoted a woman leader, yet the last time I looked almost exactly half the British population were women.

The top tier of the property industry can certainly therefore be described as predominantly male and pale.

And I wonder whether the Alison Platt experiment in particular may have encouraged property bosses to see her ousting as being a symptom of chromosomes rather than one of apparent ability and that they are now ‘once bitten twice shy’ where hiring a senior female is concerned?

Masculinity seems hard-wired into business. Does this stem from school ties?

That is to say, not connections made whilst in academia but actual ties as in collars and ties.

In the same way that Eton and Harrow do not permit girls, boardroom doors seem locked to them too.

And isn’t it interesting where the business I refer to above is concerned in that, arguably, actual responsibility for that debacle in Countrywide’s history should land squarely at Peter Long’s feet as its Chief Signer Offerer – yet he is still in place despite the woes of that company escalating even further since Platt left.

You know, 80% of consumer purchase decisions are influenced by women, including presumably home buying and one’s choice of estate agent.

So, help me out here – half the UK population are female.

Arguably the best estate agents are women. And women are pivotal in consumer purchase decisions.

But they remain almost misogynistically non-existent where positions of ultimate responsibility, power and earnings are concerned within estate agency.

Question… Are you ok with this?

As the world is currently experiencing a period of great reflection and debate on matters of racial discrimination, we might also consider gender inequality as being an issue somewhat close to home too.



Russell Quirk founded emoov, is PropergandaPR co-founder, and a director of Keller Williams (Essex).

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  1. Property Poke In The Eye

    Move on….nothing to see here.

    PIE – why is RQ allowed to propaganda off on this platform.

    Leave RM and now Remove RQ!!!!

    1. J1

      The Headline ought to be

      ”What is wrong with Russell Quirk”?

      1. Blondage

        We’ve already missed most of the year, let’s not waste another 6 months.

  2. Bertie

    Utter drivel – who gives him the column inches?

    Agents are good or bad at their job because of who they are as individuals, not because of their gender.

    Agreed that the lack of diversity in the top jobs is a concern, but can’t PIE find someone to write a more thought provoking article on this subject.

  3. Countrybumpkin

    The truth is – he is right. Further truth is that many firms DO have a glass ceiling towards women, especially the smaller firms. You see, as a rule, men cannot get pregnant. Now don’t say I am wrong just because it doesn’t sound PC. How many women would agree. I raise my hand for one.

    1. AgencyInsider

      In my experience Quirk is absolutely correct in his assessment. Darn it. I loathe myself for agreeing with him.

      1. Hillofwad71

        Although a complete absence of women from the Directorship of Emoov  save his wife which I guess goes to prove women make the best choices .Sarah Beeny hotfooted it asap

  4. Ric

    Oh gosh… This is like dare you comment for the fear of the obvious backlash, knowing to say ALL of my team of female will not be enough to loosen the noose. Anyhow here goes with my gender neutral comment.

    I think in the UK, any gender can set up a business and go it alone.

    So a solid argument for if you wanna be number 1 in a firm… sink ya cash into it and be number 1.

    Sometimes the Company Pie is too small to keep sharing high end positions to others (regardless of gender)

    More and More smaller firms mean Owners (male or female) cannot pay extra for roles they do not need.

    Surely the very best people can go it alone… if they truly believe (regardless of gender) they are better than the top people in a company.

  5. The Outsider

    On Margaret Thatcher – “she was, after all a woman and a woman, no matter where your political allegiances lie, that got things done for better or for worse, one way or the other”

    So did Hitler, Russell.  It didn’t make him great, and it also didn’t make Thatcher great.

    1. SoldPal90

      Glad you said that as I could have prattled on for pages about that cow!

  6. smile please

    Quirky jumping on the bandwagon as usual trying desperately to be relevant and just looking foolish.


    He would have been better addressing the lack of black male and female CEO’s at agencies, heck even branch managers.

  7. Whaley

    I agree with large parts of Russell’s article. We debate it enough on the podcast, in an industry that has its more than fair share of women in almost every job role why are seats at the top table largely blocked.

    in my own personal experience over the last few decades selling to agents in the vast majority of cases where I’m selling to the principal of the business the person signing off the deal was almost always a man, but the person sat next to them that intrinsically ran the business and was more often than not going to be responsible for deploying the project was a woman.

    If Russell is anything like the narcissist I am he’ll be pressing f5 on his keyboard to see what’s being said on his thread and so it’s only fitting in this week of all weeks that I do my best Ros Renshaw impression and ask

    ‘You mention and indeed name check many of the great women in the industry that have worked with you and for you, so how many of them did you promote to the board and give a stake in the business.?”

    because I suspect that might help answer your own posited question or else if you have indeed promoted your fair share then I have of course walked into your well placed ambush where you’ve just been waiting for someone to fall for the bait



    1. Bertie

      Haha! Well said

  8. JonnyBanana43

    Another load of tosh from this chap.

    I find it offensive that EYE editors think we want to read this garbage.

    Poorly written, poor content and “journalism” at its lowest.

    VERY disappointing EYE.

    1. smile please

      *Cheap* Or make that free content. Also they know it gets comments because we all think he is a joke which in turn helps drive the advertisers.
      Capitalisum at its finest. 

  9. LogicR

    Having Russell Quirk write about women is a problem for me here. He and his ilk are part of the problem. He didn’t like a comment of mine challenging a view on a LinkedIn article and phoned my boss to tell him to get me to take it down rather than respond. David Plumtree was commenting as did many other male business leaders who get it. This man is not one of them. Eye if you want a written response to this article answering Russell’s questions I would be more than happy to oblige.

    1. Property Pundit

      phoned my boss to tell him to get me to take it down rather than respond’


      True or false Russell Quirk? Readers would like to know. I’ll wait.

    2. smile please

      If he honestly did that he is a bigger **** than i thought he was (which takes some beating!)

      1. LogicR

        He did that this year and the thread is still on his LinkedIn.

        He does not reply to woman that challenge him at all unless they are connected enough with the ones he regards as worth crawling up to or over.

        Its the abhorent narcissistic and misogynistic profile of human that has managed to elevate themselves in this world at the moment.

        Eye, feel free to contact me should you wish to write a follow up piece that would balance your reporting.

        Judging by the conversations I’ve had on Facebook I won’t be the only one to recount a version of events detailing interactions with him in a light that would make it seem that someone else wrote this article.

        Is there a coming newsflash to acknowledge who did?

        Do you you wish me to break down to show what his plagiarised “sources” are?

        Anyway, I’m away for a coffee to forget about those men who can only stand on the shoulders of others in the vague hope of stepping out the shadows.

        Russell, you’re no where near big enough .

        1. Dyane

          Well said LogicR, well said!

          PIE, really, it’s time to stop giving oxygen to Quirk’s narcism.

          He’s a buffoon that has been consistently wrong about our industry for years now.

          He has ruined hundreds of lives and cost people millions of pounds. He has NO credibility and neither will PIE if you keep allowing him to massage his inflated ego through this website.

          Please PIE, can we be a Quirk free zone in the future?

          1. Robert_May

            He is being given credibility by people who all too quickly have forgotten his past.  
            This misogynistic, chop wobbling,  ‘schmoozing the laydeees’ hasn’t had a place in our society for more than a generation.  It probably made a whole bunch of blokes feel good about themselves  while the rest of of just cringed.
            I’m still waiting to run into the f*** wit from the RAF at Southampton University who told me my daughter wasn’t cut about to be an enginnering officer in the RAF because “neither engineering or leadership were traditional roles for women”

  10. In House

    Wow, how embarrassing.

    I get that pandering to popular themes will always score points, so if thats all he’s after, well done. But read those openly sexist and simply untrue bullet points again and the whole article seems to insult and discredit all male EA”s who have done well and all bosses in the industry.

    In my experience we are all so competitive and focussed on building the very best teams at our disposal that we literally are gender blind. I honestly dont know any EA boss that would deny himself the opportunity of promoting a talented PERSON within his team due to gender, we are all way too competitive.

    This article lamely attempts to tip it the other way suggesting that there is a gender thats better than another at something! But it my belief that good is good and it usually gets rewarded.

    Whats wrong with women? Whats wrong with good agents? Nothing.

  11. LogicR

    It also just occurred to me that the best person to answer this question is probably Russell Quirk’s wife. Assuming such a poor soul exists.

    1. propertyguru11

      Judging by his past, if he has a wife she lost her job just being next to him.
      The UK’s worst businessman of the decade. The destroyer of value

  12. SoldPal90

    The majority of the process is female to female that’s why it works I reckon.

    My experience is most men deal with the sale of a home (feeding back into the woman) and most women deal with the purchase of a home.  The connection is  female to female although more in-direct when selling.

    So it goes

    [Selling] – Female Neg. feeds into Male (ego) who gets permission off the Female

    [Buying] – Female Neg. to Female (tells male what they are doing)



  13. claris

    I am a female CEO or was last time I looked! and I wasn’t mentioned by RQ.

    He does have a point when he says that there is a glass ceiling for women in the industry. I have owned and run my business for over 30 years it is a sad state of affairs that even now when go to estate agency gatherings with higher ranking directors I am often either the only woman or one of very few.

    However, to write an article of this nature he should really do his research properly (taking his own suggestions literally – perhaps a woman would have written the full facts and better made the points). His article is poor to say the least but as a woman I can’t complain about the idea!


  14. Woodentop

    Utter nonsense and intended, as usual by Quirk to antagonise via his manipulation of the facts.  
    Women are not better, nor men better than women. Both can be excellent or extremely educationally challenged and vast varied options between.  
    I have known many agents who preferred to employ women over men within Estate Agency because of the biological effect on the opposite sex. This includes male and female directors making this decision. Sexist, yes but very effective. In all my decades within the industry going around the UK, when a job vacancy arise 80% and often more of applicants are women.  
    Quirk shouldn’t be given the air time, unless you want a laugh.

  15. Thinker89

    There is a stereotype of estate agents being men, not women and women being the ‘back office’ not at the front.

    I can’t tell you how many times I pick up the phone to someone assuming that I am not the boss. Every solicitors letter we receive regarding sales is addressed ‘Dear Sirs’, wives like me but husbands who don’t meet me don’t think a woman can sell a house and they ‘trust’ a man in a suit.

    How many women have you seen or heard lately in all the industry conversations?  Mr Watkins talks to many more men than women and all the other chatter is also man-centred.

    Women aren’t necessarily better than men in this business and I feel that this is one industry where a woman can earn what a man does in the same role. There might be a glass ceiling but if you are a negotiator you can get high fees and negotiate a high cut of the that fee just as any man could.

    The trouble is that there aren’t enough women in neg positions. There are lots of women who hve been in agency for years and now all the ins and outs but becuase they can type fast they get stuck in admin and sales progression. In their place as negs there are a lot of two gobby 20 something young men in shiny suits who know nothing about the market or property and don’t last.

    If you look at any agents website where they have all the staff listed there are men at the top – director, senior this, branch that and as you scroll down you find the women in admin and support roles.

  16. propertyguru11

    “Sir, I just asked you if you want mile with your Americano”

  17. AgencyInsider

    I am not surprised Quirk causes dissent. He has not done himself any favours. But he does have some experience of agency, for better or worse. Would I trust him with my old mum’s savings? Nah. But that does not mean he is without some merit? No. And in this piece he has actually hit tbe mark. In my (long) experience of agency I would rate the female of the species waaaaaay above the male. I have the greatest respect for all individuals whatever their sex, colour etc. But given the choice I would far rather work with women than men, For all the reasons, and more, Quirk has identified.

    1. Robert_May

      This might have had a place 30 years ago but it neither needed to be written or read.

  18. HHS BL

    I’m genuinely curious as to why this has been authorised by Property Industry Eye. Quirk is continuously problematic and by allowing pieces like this to be published PIE not only pander to his own narcissism but it also serves to enable what he’s writing.

    Please consider whether its informative, useful or accurate – if it isn’t? Don’t bother sharing it.


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