The First Female NAR Member Was a Washingtonian
Did you know that the first female REALTORⓇ was a pioneering woman from Seattle? This Women’s History Month, we’re honoring Corrine Simpson, the woman who paved the way for all female agents today. Here’s how Simpson broke barriers and made history in the male-dominated days of the early real estate industry.
History of Women in Real Estate
While women now make up the majority of residential real estate agents nationwide, the industry has a long history of exclusion. It’s believed that women were working in real estate as early as the 1700s, although they were likely limited to administrative duties at the time. In the late 1800s, however, women finally stepped into agent and broker roles. Progress since is due in large part to early innovative agents, including Washingtonian Corrine Simpson.
Women in early real estate were often either the widows or daughters of men in the industry, half of a mother-son or husband-wife real estate team, or newly working professionals pushed to sell due to financial necessity. These pioneering women were largely on their own as networks and groups for women in real estate had not yet been established. In fact, it wasn’t until 1908 that the National Association of REALTORSⓇ, America’s largest trade association to date, was formed.
National Association of REALTORSⓇ Is Founded
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) was established in 1908 "to unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests." At the time of its founding, NAR membership was 100% male. Despite this fact and the word choice in its statement of purpose, there were never gender or racial requirements for membership. Women began joining NAR shortly after its inception, starting with one innovative Washingtonian.
Corrine Simpson Becomes the First Female REALTORⓇ
Corrine Simpson became the first female NAR member in 1910. Simpson had been a fixture in the Seattle real estate market for years and would remain a REALTORⓇ until 1927, shortly before her death in 1929. Slowly, female agents across the nation followed in Simpson’s footsteps, taking the real estate market by storm, joining local NAR groups, and eventually establishing women’s-specific groups like the Women’s Council of REALTORSⓇ.
Women and minorities in real estate today owe Simpson a debt of gratitude for paving the way, proving what’s possible, and making history. With her can-do attitude and historic gumption, is it any wonder that this pioneering woman was a Washingtonian?
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