Strata Patriarchy

Once upon a time women were restricted to parlours with other women while men talked about politics and current affairs. They talked quietly of course but almost certainly, some also spoke about politics and current affairs because women vote now and hold high political offices. It appears this fact still upsets some types of men. As strata is a microcosm of the larger whole, it may be timely to discuss how old meets new in strata.

When two people purchase a property, two people are named on the registration which is filed legally. When it comes to strata voting of course, the rule is one property, one vote. It would seem rather obvious that two owners would choose which one would carry the ballot and represent the best interests of the unit. As in every relationship/partnership, how two voices collaborate to achieve one voice is unique just as two voices might remain independent within one relationship/partnership.

In strata, asset management takes priority over the idiosyncrasies and nuances of a single relationship. Things become interesting when the more vocal owner has an opinion that does not quite flow with the current of the majority. Things become even more interesting when perception suggests a female voice is the problematic voice behind the scenes and the male voice is enabling dissent.

How old fashioned is this kind of thinking?

A group of “deciders” being hobbled by whisperings behind parlour doors. Here we go again with the whole “group-think” process. And what about when a council of seven is predominantly male? Are the women on council there because they are token representatives or, is it possible they chose to stand for election because they truly believed they could provide something to the whole governance and maintenance of the corporation?

A few things stand out when men suggest other men are unable to silence the opinion of their partners; insecurity is insidious and prevalent all at the same time and opinions are opinions not a criticism unless of course an opinion can lead to positive change. Sometimes “deciders” don’t have knowledge, they just have opinions. Sometimes facts are disguised as opinions in order to start a dialogue.

Dialogues between men and women making decisions for the whole corporation should always be fact-based,  and carefully considered. Personalities and emotions have no place in fair, judicial governance. To that end, the government gave strata owners a huge piece of legislation to assist “deciders” both male and female ( it doesn’t appear to be a piece of gender specific legislation). There are books The Condo Manual by Mike Mangan for example and associations, VISOA (Vancouver Island Owners Association, CHOA (Condo Home Owners Association and newspaper columns, “StrataSmarts” by Tony Gioventu, to help men and women navigate through their little microcosm with some balance and fairness. It doesn’t have to be a  patriarchy to be well run but some things take time to undo especially well worn thought habits.

For stratas to be efficient and well run all owners need to accept the importance of their individual role in participating in the governance and maintenance of the corporate asset. To presume only certain stereotypes can adequately fill the role sends strata owners backwards to parlours and luncheons and smoking rooms.





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