Celebrating International Women's Day With PrimeGlobal Leaders

PrimeGlobal News
March 8, 2018

This year we are celebrating international women's day by looking back at some of the leading PrimeGlobal women of the past year. PrimeGlobal has always been a strong advocate for placing women in leadership roles throughout the accounting industry. With annual events such as Women's Leadership Conference PrimeGlobal continues to support strong female role models within the association and within our member firms. Below are just some of the brilliant women within PrimeGlobal sharing their opinions on the industry as a whole. 

Ana Lourdes Ortiz 187X300
"One of the challenges faced by women is how companies measure their abilities and performance differently from men. Professional women are still required to demonstrate their adequate preparation and their own worth more so than men, even compared to other women. Statistics show that women outperform men in higher education; nevertheless, women are still under-represented in leadership roles. Therefore, before any real change in gender equality can be made, there needs to be a shift in how society defines the roles of women and men in society and in leadership. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie states “The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.” Ana Lourdes Ortiz, Partner, Ortiz Leos, Mexico

"Ten years on, and there are more female employee entering my firm. They still have the same problems I encountered, and sometimes I need to grant one or more days leave when their children are sick. Making sure the business runs smoothly in a firm with a female majority is not always easy in the accounting industry in Taiwan.

These issues have bothered me for years, not only in my own career and personal life but also in relation to the other employees in our firm who find themselves in this same difficult position. I find that colleague support is very important, and sometimes we all step in to help during the busy periods, both with work but also with picking children up from school and doing whatever is necessary to make sure the business doesn’t suffer. I am very grateful to have always been surrounded by supportive colleagues."

By Vivian Chuang, Senior Partner, HAPS Consulting Ltd. & CPAs, Taiwan 

Photo Beth
"Twenty years ago, for a woman to make partner in an accounting firm meant she must prove to others that the business world was the most important thing in her life. Women who wanted a life outside the office, clearly were not going to make partner in an accounting firm. When I started at Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, P.A., I did not have a role model who was trying to juggle life as a mom and at the same time climb the ranks to become a leader in the firm. I had to figure how to make it work and now I am a role model for others to follow." Beth Bauknight, Tax Partner, Bauknight Pietras & Stormer, USA

"Despite the socio economic and political background of India which is unique from the rest of the world in many ways, India has produced stalwarts who have been world famous some of them being: Indira Gandhi, Pratibha Patil, Kiran Bedi, Shakshi Malik, Saina Nehwal, P.V.Sindhu, Indra Nooyi, Babita Phogat just to name a few.

Now the scenario is undergoing a change and women are taking rapid strides in fields which were hitherto considered reserved for men like engineering, medical, research, accountancy etc. Now woman since childhood are facing fewer taboos and this is showing in the statistics which shows a dramatic change over the last decade or so. With opportunities being given to woman they are now excelling and even surpassing man in terms of having greater success in exams, professional course etc.

This is amply demonstrated in the specific filed of Accountancy in India – Woman CA rose from a mere 8% in year 2000 to a good 22% in year 2016. Amongst the students now 40% are girls. This trend is continuously improving in CA and allied profession in India as there is social acceptability of women to be on top in all fields."

By Sunita Umesh, Senior Partner, UCC & Associates LLP, India

Sue Tuson
"Today, 45% of our shareholders are female; a remarkable statistic by any standard. We have embraced a variety of flexible work models and have helped those in the power positions of the firm, men and women, understand the specific needs of women wishing to remain engaged with the firm. But as far as we’ve come, the next generation of women has identified some blind spots. As a result of their observations, talent, and influence, we’re listening. To ensure that women continue to progress, and thrive within our firm there has been a development of a Women’s Network. The Women's Network is designed to provide a support system, and training and education on leadership and marketing skills. As talent continues to be our industry’s number one issue, firms have no choice to adapt to the needs of this invaluable sector of our workforce. I am proud that our firm recognises the value of retaining talented women in the workplace and continues to develop and refine programs to support the women of the firm." Suzanne Tuson, Shareholder – International Tax, Clayton & McKervey, USA

"I think it is important that women have female role models to aspire to; women who can pass on their experience and tips, even though it is not always what they want to hear. It’s something that I do on a regular basis within my own firm, especially with female employees who are about to go on maternity leave.

Many of the women I mentor are looking at returning to work part-time while their partner will remain in full-time employment. I try to give them a healthy dose of reality. They think they can have it all, but they must be realistic because juggling a family life and a career is incredibly challenging.

Where the next 50 years will take us is anyone’s guess, but I still believe that the key to ensuring that women are appointed to executive roles rests with society as a whole. Until we can move away from gender stereotypes, until it is just as acceptable for men to become primary care givers as it is for women, I think females will always face an uphill battle to reach the very top of their profession."

By Shonagh Fraser, Partner, Hall Morrice LLP, UK

"Achieving gender equality doesn't necessarily means that roles need to be perfectly equal in every way. Some basic differences persist for simple reasons of biology. Instead, equality should mean that men and women both enjoy a level playing field in terms of workplace treatment and opportunity. Employers should improve work-life balance for female workers to enhance retention. A study by the International Labor Organization shows that some maternity-protection measures cost little and yield high returns. Such measures include flexible work hours and providing workplace facilities to store breast milk." Panida Kulchaisawat, Managing Director, ThaiAudit TheTruth, Thailand