Today is International Women's Day (IWD), where people around the world recognise and celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women.

The theme for 2016 is 'Pledge for Parity.' While so much has been done to drive forward this movement, a century on from the very first IWD there is still room for improvement in the quest to completely close the gender gap.
As an example, the World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global parity in earnings. But just one year later, the trend had slowed to such an extent that this is now estimated to happen as late as 2133.

With many aspects of the property industry still male-dominated, IWD seems the ideal opportunity to take a look at those women leading the way in our market and industry in general.

The trend in female buy-to-let investors and landlords is mirroring national employment, seeing a rise in working women and fall in working men over the last 40 years. The Office of National Statistics' 2013 report, 'Women in the Labour Market', revealed 67% of women aged 16 to 64 are now in work (up from 53% in 1971). But for men, the numbers plummeted from 92% in work in 1971 to 76% in 2013 - closing the gender divide in the UK workforce.

But why are women in property, like many other sectors, now proving themselves in a historically male-dominated industry? Ahead of its annual Women in Property Awards, the National Landlords Association tried to put its finger on the secret of success for female landlords. They interviewed 500 'property women' to gauge what they considered the reason for this trend. Some of the top ranked reasons included:

- Female landlords are more likely to pay attention to detail - spending more time on the aesthetics and little touches that make a home more comfortable

- Female landlords tend to feel, and show, a more human touch, with compassion for the impact of difficult situations

- Female landlords tend to consider their lettings as a 'people business,' viewing their tenants as customers and therefore putting higher emphasis on customer satisfaction and value and offering better communication and a more supportive approach.

Add into the equation that many buy-to-let partnerships today are couples and you've got a formidable formula to take the buy-to-let industry forward.

Platinum Property Partners (PPP) is proud to celebrate the special role that our female Partners play. In fact, the PPP model reflects the national trend, with 25% of our lead franchisees now being female. We therefore have a number of 'power women' in the PPP network who are successfully building their own property portfolios.

Our female property ambassadors come from a mix of backgrounds - many were and some still are stay-at-home mums, some are former senior executives or directors for major international corporations and others worked in the public sector. Regardless of their route to success, there's no doubt that today's businesswomen bring a desirable mix of skills, empathy and acumen to the property industry.

Take mother and daughter team, Antoinette and Alexandra, for example. They had already worked together in a successful fashion business while Antoinette built her own property portfolio on the side. Now, while Alexandra continues to work full time in her accountancy practice, the pair are building a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) portfolio in Southport.

Sally Timperley also had property experience before joining PPP in 2011, coming from the commercial sector. But she wanted to find a business opportunity in the property industry that would give her cash flow and long-term capital growth. She now has five HMOs in Cheshire, which is one more than she planned for.

Fellow PPP Partner Amanda Staton is at a different stage in life but finds the buy-to-let industry works for her too. With two small children at home and her husband working full time, Amanda is the driving force behind her family's four successful HMOs… and counting.

Louise Thompson is another PPP success story we're celebrating on International Women's Day. Following a career in fashion, Louise wanted to escape the hard graft of the industry and realised she had made most of her money in life by buying a house and watching it increase in value. She joined PPP to provide her with a proven strategy that would give her a pension income.

These female business owners are role models to many others with similar aspirations or the same drive for excellence. And there are plenty of professional women across industry making names for themselves in their chosen business.

While the gender divide is inching ever closer to the parity International Women's Day is championing, we need these pioneers to build the business case for other like-minded entrepreneurs.

Beyond property, women in business are becoming well known in their industries and being given a platform in general. These females are today's trusted spokespeople, authorities, political advisors and advocates, inspiring others to challenge dated perceptions and preconceptions and make names for themselves in their own field, in their own right.