Cairo: Once a male monopoly, real-estate brokerage is one of the latest domains where Saudi women are establishing themselves amid a robust drive to empower females in the kingdom.
One of the female real-estate brokers is Asma Alshehri. “I started my career in the field by chance,” she said.
After having worked for years at mortgage financing firms, Asma said some clients asked her to help find properties for them. This marked the start for her to shift sights to the real-estate brokerage.
She told Saudi news website Akhbar24 that the real-estate broker should be patient, diligent and ambitious “because property is a difficult commodity.”
Asma said she initially faced rejection and bias as some clients refused to accept her as a real estate broker. But with the passage of time, the idea of having female brokers in the field has gained ground.
“Among the odd situations I experienced was when a woman demanded that the broker to meet her husband should be a man, not a woman,” she recalled. “I was surprised by the request because she was a woman seeking a woman’s help, but wanted a man. I excused myself for not serving her.”
On her feelings after cutting the first deal in the business, Asma said she felt making an achievement because her hard efforts bore fruit. “It had a different taste,” she remembered.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has ramped up efforts to empower women in different walks of life as part of dramatic changes in the kingdom.
In 2018, the kingdom allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, ending a decades-old ban on female driving.
Two female ambassadors were among 11 Saudi envoys, who took the oath of office before King Salman bin Abdulaziz in January.