Women at BDO: A discussion with Rebecca Thomson

What is most rewarding about your role at BDO?

The most rewarding part of my role is working with people. I work with clients to help them meet their skilled workforce needs and solve difficult problems in highly complex environments. I work with great people and contribute to my team’s development as an individual and professional.

Why do you believe gender equality is so important?

All people, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation should be able to achieve their personal and professional goals in a safe and supportive environment.

We must, however, start with gender equity. We know women continue to earn less than men, and generally do not advance their careers as quickly, or as far as men, and accumulate less retirement or superannuation savings.

On the other hand, men often have less access to family-friendly policies such as parental leave or flexible working arrangements compared with women. Gender equality in the workplace aims to achieve outcomes that may not necessarily be the same for all but to provide equal opportunities and outcomes for women and men broadly.

What value do you think women bring to leadership?

Studies show women are more likely to be ethically and civically minded, and they generally champion diversity and issues of equality. In most instances, female leaders seek to further economic, social, and political progress for all. Empowered women continue to improve outcomes and bring about results.

Have you ever had to overcome gender bias? If so, how did you tackle it?

I have been incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by strong and successful women my whole life. I never thought that my gender limited my opportunities.

I do, however, remember being told in my late twenties I had to choose: I could either focus on a career or have babies. I was told it wasn’t possible to have both. It was true that it is very difficult to have a career and raise children.

Interestingly, I have faced more challenges from other mothers who have questioned my ability to be a good mother while pursuing a career.

How has BDO supported your career journey?

BDO has allowed me the flexibility to find as much balance as possible in my dual roles as mother and employee.

I can work flexible hours, which means I am home in the afternoons before everything goes pear-shaped. I can also work remotely when the kids have been unwell or on holidays.

What do you think future opportunities look like for females in our industry?

If we can continue to prioritise gender equity, there should be no difference between opportunities based on gender. If we need to keep asking this question, we know we haven’t made it yet.

How would you suggest workplaces break the bias against gender equality?

Promote more women into leadership positions and offer more training on the impact of gender bias. In addition, introduce KPIs specifically related to gender equity.

Read more stories from women at BDO