In the 1930s, the National Association of Real Estate Boards (the predecessor of NAR) witnessed a growth of women working in real estate and an increased participation of women at national conventions, as women were becoming aware of their potential in and importance to the industry.
A Women's Division had already been created in 1924 by the California Real Estate Association. Fourteen years later, 1938 National President Joseph Catherine encouraged the formation of a national Women’s Council after being impressed by the California group.
At the time, NAR was already 30 years old, but most decisions were still made by local boards—most of which were resistant to offering membership to women. However, the National Association was ready to recognize women in real estate, and a positive vote resulted in the formation of a women's division at the Annual Convention in Milwaukee in November 1938. Thirty-seven ambitious women represented nine states at that meeting for WCR's inception.
Since its inception, many dedicated members have served as role models and achieved many “firsts” in the industry and in their communities. Through the decades, WCR's membership growth reflected the vast number of women choosing to work in real estate as they recognized the immense career benefits combined with a WCR membership, including:
- Earnings equitable to men's because "commission is commission."
- Flexible work schedules allowing REALTORS® the ability to raise a family and have a career instead of choosing one or the other.
- A support system of women in the same field garnering many friendships, networking capabilities and referrals.
- Confidence through connection with other professional women REALTORS®.
- Recognition for their own achievements and success, as well as inspiration and courage to strive for greater successes.
Women’s Council Today
Today Women's Council is a nationwide community of 19,000 real estate professionals who include many of the best and brightest in the business. The backbone of WCR is its network of more than 300 local and state chapters with volunteer managers trained to position their groups as a business resource in their REALTOR® communities.
In 1998, WCR created an annual Leadership Academy for incoming local chapter presidents (adding state presidents-elect in 2006). With its in-depth chapter management training, the Academy was recognized with the prestigious Leadership Development Trophy in Chapter Relations from the American Society of Association Executives in its first year. With regular networking and educational programs delivered at the local chapter level, which are designed to keep members on top of an evolving market, it’s small wonder that WCR members collectively generate more than $100 million in commissions annually.
At WCR we are never standing still. That’s why in 2003 we launched an entirely new REALTOR® designation, the Performance Management Network. The first course in the new curriculum, Effective Negotiating for Real Estate Professionals, premiered with a record-breaking 330 students—the most highly attended initial offering of any WCR course to date.
The designation program combines WCR’s thriving referral network with new courses that address the hot topics that are shaping real estate, like effective negotiating, conflict and change management, networking to generate referrals and more.
Today, WCR is the twelfth largest U.S. women's professional organization and has one of the most successful communication networks in the NAR family. Chapters include real estate professionals who support the objectives of WCR and are interested in serving the industry, the community and fellow REALTORS®.