International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day

Celebrating the Women of iGROWW


One of the cornerstones of Protiviti’s Employee Network Groups is iGROWW, our Initiative for Growth and Retention of Women at Work. iGROWW has a strong voluntary membership that tackles women’s professional issues through various forums and facilitates networking events and community service activities.

We touched base with our iGROWW leaders Jane Tumurbaatar, Isabelle Remedios, Loes Wilms, Kirsty Martin, and Kamil Lateef ahead of International Women’s Day to hear what they have to say about the achievements of women in the workplace, what the IWD theme means to them, and advice they have for their peers.

Associate Director
National iGROWW Lead
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge – how does that resonate with your work life?
I think it resonates very well with how I approach my career and my work. I try to educate myself on the unconscious biases we hold towards different genders and try to consciously change my behaviour where I can to challenge myself to be free of those biases. This also applies to noticing biases that others hold and bringing it to their attention gently.
There are studies that show women tend to apply for jobs where they think they’ll meet 100% of the job description and requirements whereas men tend to apply when they think they’ll meet 60% of the job description and requirements. This fact alone highlights that we can fix some of the inequality through our individual behaviours. To me, choosing to challenge is challenging ourselves to apply for that job, speak up in meetings, and ask for what you need.
What’s an assumption, stereotype, or bias about women that you disagree with or have experienced personally?
I have experienced a lot of assumptions and stereotyping not just based on my gender but my race and age. I have learned to not take these assumptions personally because at the end of the day these are based on the other person and what their perception of reality is based on their experiences, not based on who or what I am. Because if you really think deeper into it, if they did know who I am and what I am they would know those assumptions are not true.
The most common assumption I’ve noticed and experienced is that women are weak if they’re nice and a ‘bit**’ if they’re assertive. Women have been socially conditioned to be ‘nice’, so we tend to smile more than men and that is perceived as we’re nice therefore weak. I fundamentally disagree with this assumption and try to demonstrate the opposite where I can. Just like any other double standards and biases, when women don’t smile and seem ‘nice’ they are perceived to be ‘too aggressive’ and not collaborative. This is not true either. We need to constantly ask ourselves “would I have said or made this assumption if she was a man?”.
How do you support mentorship and professional development for women at Protiviti?
We have a 5-year plan at Protiviti towards parity. The targets have been set with ambition and we look to strive for those targets every year. We already have a good base at the junior level and it’s more about supporting and mentoring our female colleagues through the career progression and promotions. This will include targeted training on unconscious biases and mentorship programs.
What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career in consulting?
I would encourage women to pursue whatever they desire to pursue, including a career in consulting. Choose to challenge yourself and your limiting beliefs about what you can and can’t do. If you really want the job, apply for it; let the hirer be the judge of whether you truly can do that job or not.
Consulting is a rewarding career if you value fast pace, continuous learning and improvement, and merits-based recognition.

Back to top

 

Consultant
Sydney iGROWW Lead
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge – how does that resonate with your work life?
This campaign theme is a call to everyone, not just women. To me, all of us have a choice to either accept the status quo or challenge it. We can either sit idly by and watch the world go past us, or we can vocalise our beliefs contrary (or aligned) to the current standard and instill change. This change occurs when you voice your opinion in a constructive manner and challenge the status quo, enabling attitudes and values to reframe and transition over time. In a workplace setting, there is always improvement opportunity in this space, so the IWD’s campaign theme is a call to everyone to get involved and challenge conventional norms.
What does equality in the workplace look like to you?
Equality in the workplace looks like equal treatment, pay, and most importantly, opportunity. This cascades across different areas, but essentially gives rise to allowing all employees in the workplace to access the same opportunities, fostered by a positive work environment that facilitates and encourages these values. Equality in the workplace for me stems from the eradication of inherent bias and the way you are perceived based on gender, which is a key aspect of the systemic stereotypes embedded in our subconscious. Understandably, inherent bias is not going to change overnight and the push towards equality will require time and perseverance through a unified workforce.
How important is it for women to support women in the workplace?
Absolutely essential. Equality is more than just a lack of discrimination, but a willingness to undertake self-reflection and implement change. No workplace is perfect, but a working environment that encourages this learning and self-reflection is one where women support one another to begin with; to unify towards a common goal. I think it can be easy to get caught up in oneself and perhaps see women competing rather than uplifting one another. Unification will only bring women together who share similar daily experiences. We need to celebrate our similarities and the challenges we face everywhere – the workplace, the streets, home; wherever. There is no point fighting on your own for equality in the workplace – this is something that must be achieved together, both women and men.
What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career in consulting?
To be confident and be sure of yourself – this applies to any career, not just consulting. The more you gain experience in the workplace, the more you realise a lot of people are just as much in the dark as you are, and you will struggle to find someone who has all the answers. As such, women need to be able to have confidence in their abilities and we cannot believe that we are worth less than anybody else because of how much society has told you to doubt your capabilities (or lack thereof) as a woman. If all women carried themselves with the confidence of a man, we would be getting a lot further. My fundamental advice is to be sure of yourself and NEVER doubt yourself purely based on gender. There will always be obstacles to inhibit your career development and growth, but the fundamental factor is self-assurance that you have the potential to prosper.

Back to top

 

Senior Consultant
Melbourne iGROWW Lead
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge – how does that resonate with your work life?
As part of the iGROWW network we create greater awareness around bias in the workplace. We encourage speaking up for others when needed to create an environment that challenges typical stereotypes and bias. As a network we promote a diverse and inclusive workplace with equal opportunities.
What does equality in the workplace look like to you?
Providing equal opportunities so everyone can develop personally and progress further in their careers. Equality in the workplace celebrates our wins and achievements without any form of bias. Encouraging ongoing mentoring at all levels is essential to continuously challenge ourselves and support self-development. We should speak up for others when needed and create an environment where everyone is heard and can freely share their ideas and thoughts.
How do you support mentorship and professional development for women at Protiviti?
I have met incredibly talented and inspirational women at Protiviti who have continuously shown me the importance of mentorship. Both as a mentor and a mentee I have tried to find common interests with the other person. This enabled stimulating conversations and taught me how to identify potential challenges and overcome these. Although your mentor may not present you with all the answers, supportive mentor advice has given me the tools to make my own decisions and be equipped with greater knowledge and confidence. I fully encourage finding a mentor who supports you to achieve your professional goals.
How important is it for women to support women in the workplace?
It is incredibly important for us women to support each other in the workplace. Feeling supported is empowering and gives you confidence to work towards your professional goals. Only with support from others can we create awareness of potential challenges and ways to anticipate and overcome these. It is essential to promote equal opportunities to create an environment where everyone is heard and can share their thoughts and ideas. A more supportive workplace promotes creativity, confidence, and opportunities for everyone to further progress their careers.

Back to top

 

Senior Consultant 
Canberra iGROWW Lead
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge – how does that resonate with your work life?
We often spend more time at work with our colleagues than with our friends and family, and so a lot of discussion of news and current events takes place in the work setting. There is an unwritten rule that you shouldn’t discuss politics at work, but when so much of public life and discussion takes place at work, and these discussions shape public discourse and opinion that is then shared with family and friends later, I think we need to choose to challenge this idea and get more comfortable having important, but sometimes difficult and challenging conversations at work. These conversations should still be respectful and don’t necessarily need to get into party politics, but shying away from challenging conversations so as not to be seen as difficult only works to maintain the status quo. We must #ChooseToChallenge to continue working towards a more just and equal society.
What’s an assumption, stereotype, or bias about women that you disagree with or have experienced personally?
That women are more emotional than men, and that being emotional is a bad thing. We are all human and experience emotions and this should be embraced. Showing emotion is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you care. I would much rather work with someone who feels empathy, anger, sadness, joy etc. authentically and is able to express these feelings in a healthy way. That’s a person that you know you can trust, you know where you stand, and who you know cares. Emotional intelligence is the number one most important skill in consulting in my opinion.
How important is it for women to support women in the workplace?
Important, but this question always feels based on another incorrect assumption in my opinion. There is this idea that women don’t support other women, that there is always competition between women. It seems people are always on the lookout for a ‘cat fight’. But I think this is just another product of patriarchy aiming to shift blame or responsibility for supporting women back onto women when the issue is with men.
In my experience women are extremely supportive of each other, even when seemingly competing for the same roles or opportunities. The issue is with the fact that there are limited roles or opportunities available for women compared to men and this dynamic is created by men. Women supporting women is extremely important, but the focus of the conversation should be on men supporting women and working for equality with us. The burden of addressing gender inequality cannot sit only with women.

Back to top

 

Consultant
Brisbane iGROWW Lead
What’s an assumption, stereotype, or bias about women that you disagree with or have experienced personally?
A very common assumption made about women is that you can’t have a personal life as well as a successful career. I believe that strong women are multifaceted, and our commitment to our careers should not be determined based on whether we are also committed to our personal lives.
How do you support mentorship and professional development for women at Protiviti?
Mentorship and professional development should be considered from all angles within the workplace. We should be supporting and assisting our fellow women at Protiviti whether they are our peers, our leaders, or our mentees. I try to position myself as a person that you can reach out to if you need a hand with anything, whether its professional advice or just a general chat. Having a support system, especially one that includes females that you can relate to, is so important in determining morale and professional development.
How important is it for women to support women in the workplace?
I believe that in order to build strong women, there needs to be a support network that fosters that. iGROWW is a great place to start, however it is up to us as individuals to help nurture and develop the skills required to progress professionally at Protiviti. How we treat our respective female colleagues determines the culture of the organisation, therefore we should be building each other up in every interaction we have.
What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career in consulting?
The best advice I can give is to just do it. Consulting may seem big and scary and you may not think you tick all the boxes. An internal report was done by Hewlett Packard which found that men apply for jobs when they meet 66% of the qualifications, but women will only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications. Be confident in yourself and your abilities, and any great organisation will see what an asset you would be.

Back to top

 

CATEGORY TOPIC:

Ready to work with us?