Editor’s Note: This week’s Deeper Thoughts was authored by LodeStar’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Alayna Gardner.
One of the highlights of Women’s History Month (March), International Women’s Day was Tuesday, March 8 this year. It wasn’t a federal holiday, and odds are you didn’t have the day off (unless you’d already applied for PTO). But this year was a little different, at least here in the mortgage industry. Because, far more than we’ve ever seen before, especially on social media platforms, mortgage-related businesses celebrated their professional women and shared their gratitude. IWD was actually a thing this year. And nobody forced anyone to give that recognition. We’d call that a good start. Just a start, but a good one.
IWD is a global holiday designed to honor the cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements of women. And while women in the workplace, in particular, have come a long way, most indicators (and a little common sense) tell us that we still have more to do before we reach a point of true equilibrium. The stale argument condemning such moments of recognition or wishing that we could all just see each other as people, instead of by gender, color, ethnicity, etc. ignores the sad truth that, as a society, we’ve been seeing each other just that way for centuries—to the detriment of the non-dominant genders, ethnicities and the like. The numbers and data bear it out. For those grumbling about the fact that there’s no International Men’s Day, well, by many accounts, that’s every day that isn’t IWD. The idea of having such a holiday is to get us to stop and reflect a bit. About what was, what is and what has to be done better.
To realize how far women have come in the mortgage industry, consider that as recently as the 1970’s, single women applying for mortgage loans “would have been laughed out of most lending institutions.” The Mortgage Bankers Association didn’t have its first female Chairman until 2005 (in fact, it was our good friend and partner, Regina Lowrie, CMB, President and CEO of Dytrix). And we really haven’t seen a push towards diversity and inclusion as powerful as we’ve seen in the past two or three years before that.
All of that being said, it’s fantastic to start to see progress. If you happened across LinkedIn on or around March 8 this year, you likely came across some acknowledgement or celebration of our industry’s leading women. This isn’t something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the years. It’s a relatively new phenomenon. And it’s welcomed. It all starts with recognition and reflection. We’re not quite where we need to be yet, but it’s a good start.
The good news is that the data is starting to tilt toward equality, although we’re a long way from there. We’ve seen data suggesting that, in 2021, the proportion of women in senior management roles grew to 31%, the highest number ever recorded. Still not 50%, but a start. Additionally, The Fortune Global 500 reported an all-time high of 23 women CEOs in 2021. Not even close to 50%, but a sign of improvement.
As one of LodeStar’s female Directors, I and Director of Customer Operations, Kelsey Wright, have been blessed with genuine opportunity. Credit to our Co-Founders, Jim and David, for working tirelessly not just to build a successful brand, but an opportunity for everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity and the like. As part of our commitment to clarity, community and connectivity, they’ve both been vocal leaders on the issue of diversity and inclusion, and they practice what they preach on a day to day basis. We’ll all continue to do that as we continue our journey.