Happy Women’s History Month!


March is Women’s History month! In honor of celebrating the achievements of women, we’ve decided to highlight some of the progress made in real estate over the years. We hope this blog will inspire you to reflect on the influence of women in your past, present and future.


“The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that …

women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves.” – Louise Otto


The history of women in real estate, professionally and individually, has been a rather short tenure in the grand scheme. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) was formed in 1908 and is still the foundation of our industry. However, at its formation, 100% of the members were male. Although there were no NAR restrictions against female Realtors, Brokers were required to be a member of a local real estate board in order to join NAR. Despite the numerous women already working in real estate at this time, local boards had stipulations against women members.


In Minnesota, the industry tides began to slowly shift in the 1950s. At that time, Emma Rovick, who is the influential founder of Edina Realty, took an educated leap of faith in the booming Edina real estate market. In 1955 she purchased a small, poorly performing firm and transformed it into something historic. The glass ceiling began to crack. Of course not everything was smooth sailing. In interviews, Emma noted “We were called the ‘part-time salesladies with the dishpan hands,” a clear jab of the cutthroat male dominated industry. But the perseverance of Emma and countless others in the decades to follow have brought us to where we are now. Today, nationally, women account for 62% of all Realtors. Here in Minnesota, that number is approximately 47%.


If we switch gears to individual property ownership rights we can trace origin to the adaptation of the English system during the early colonial period. This meant that women could not own property in their name. In 1839, Mississippi, followed by others, became the first state where women, with the permission of their husband’s, could hold title to property.


It wasn’t until 1900 that all states passed legislation similar to New York’s Married Women’s Property Act of 1848. This allowed for married women to keep their own wages and hold property ownership.


Although this legislation was a huge step forward for women’s property rights, there was a caveat. Women could not legally obtain a loan to purchase property. How could a woman become a homeowner without financing? Property ownership of women during this period was mainly through marriage or inheritance from a male family member. Despite the efforts of women Suffragists to gain the right to vote in 1920, advocates were unsuccessful at their attempt on an Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1923. Subsequently, it would be 54 more years before congress would pass the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. This bill, passed in 1974, gave women the financial autonomy to obtain credit without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex or marital status.


Appreciation for the past brings us understanding of our present and guides us towards the future. When I reflect on how far we’ve progressed in my mom & grandma’s lifetime I am astonished. Each generation has its own trials and tribulations. When I look at my two daughters I have to wonder, what will theirs be?

Leah Prahl



“The finest compliment I can receive is your referral”

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