Women In Housing-2015

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 36 of 67

Power Players Special Section Th e M Rep o RT | 35 C rusading for the rights of American homeowners is just a typical day for Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California). Arguably one of the most powerful women in American politics today, she is currently serving her 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services. During the economic crisis, Congresswoman Waters used her role to lead congressional efforts to mitigate foreclosures. She served as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity in the previous two Congresses, where she notably authored the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. During her career as a public servant, Waters has frequently made tough—and sometimes controversial—decisions. As such, she was the ideal candidate to speak to the issue many women struggle with—gaining confi- dence in male-dominated arenas. "Too often we allow a lack of confidence to hold us back from asking for what we deserve in the workplace. I am a firm believer in the "three Ps"—plan, practice, and perform. Becoming comfort- able with your own voice and persona in a variety of settings prepares you for any opportunity to add value to a conversation or discussion," she advises. While this may seem like a hard task at first, Waters believes repetition will soon make it habit. "Engage in activities that require you to speak in front of groups, large and small. Do everything you can to prepare for every opportu- nity—so you can speak up with the confidence of your own knowledge and ability. That is what will set you apart from anyone in the room, build your self-assurance, and instill confidence in others that you are a subject matter expert with the skills to get the job done," she said. Waters notes "women continue to be confronted with the attitude and belief that [they] are not as prepared, confident, or emotionally capable as their male counterparts to take on leadership roles." In order to combat this, she feels it is important for successful women to open up opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps. Regarding the ongoing inequity of men and women in the workforce, she says "make no mistake, this is unfair. But women cannot afford to back down or miss a beat. We have to pay the extra price, by spending time and effort in training and education just to get our foot in the door. Once we do, we have to prove to the disbelievers and obstructionists that we can, and will, do the job." Waters comments that women often face inequality in the hous- ing market. "[Pre-crisis] many unscrupulous lending prac- tices and terms directly targeted women and minorities, unfairly charging higher interest rates and fees, despite oftentimes having comparable credit scores to their counterparts. This particularly impacted single women who were heads of households. [Women's] efforts to get honest loans were met with predators instead. After the crisis, tight lending environ- ments and a failure to adequately invest in programs that support homeownership left the dream of owning a home out of reach for far too many Americans. Women, and particularly minority women, are no exception," she said. Waters believes the mortgage industry itself can play an im- portant role in addressing these issues. "To mitigate this problem, I believe housing profession- als could be more cognizant of avoiding the practice of 'steering' women and minority homebuy- ers into specific neighborhoods and communities based on a set of assumptions—such as a per- son's race or gender. We need a strong effort to reverse the prac- tice of "redlining," and we must avoid making judgments about a person's preferences and ability to afford a home," she said. Maxine Waters "Too often we allow a lack of confidence to hold us back from asking for what we deserve in the workplace. I am a firm believer in the "three Ps"–plan, practice, and perform." Serving the 43rd CongreSSional diStriCt of California

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - Women In Housing-2015