Rebel Cook was prominently featured in a Palm Beach Post front page feature, “Congress, local women confront the gender wage gap,” as one of the first women to break into commercial real estate on her way to becoming a prominent local business leader.
Rebel is cited in the introduction …
When Patricia Lebow graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1973, there were 10 men for every woman in her class. Big firms didn’t hire women. And when she found a lawyer willing to take a chance on her, she often landed in the halls of the Dade County Courthouse without another female lawyer in sight. “I was an oddity,” she said.
Around the same time, Rebel Cook was trying to convince men in commercial real estate that she could hawk bare land to a developer as well as she could sell a historic home in Coral Gables. She was hired, but she had to sell houses for six months before she got a crack at commercial property.
… and later in the story …
“One of the reasons I started my own company was because the good ol’ boys who were here at the time didn’t want to hire me,” Cook said. At her real estate office, paying commission removes the question of gender from the pay calculation. The person who does the most business makes the most money, Cook said.
While Lebow and Cook might debate the state of gender discrimination, neither would give preference to a woman who was not the most qualified candidate, they said.
“I have great empathy for women who are trying to climb a ladder that is nontraditional,” Cook said. But she added: “I don’t care what you are: You could be 2-foot-2 and round and green. As long as you’re able to produce dollars, I want you in the company.”
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December 10, 2010