Firm adds weight to calls by the recent parliamentary inquiry for change to encourage women into the industry.
Insolvency must address gender imbalance: Rodgers Reidy
Rodgers Reidy has urged other insolvency firms to follow its lead in reducing the gender gap in the industry after a reprimand by the recent parliamentary inquiry for its “imbalance”.
Sydney director Aiko Wang said despite a decade in insolvency she was still subject to discrimination and attitudes needed to change.
“I still regularly encounter an unconscious bias from potential referrers,” she said. “They say, ‘It’s a tough job for a woman, are you OK with it?’ That’s very discouraging but I understand it.”
“I think that attitudes must change. At the end of the day I’m doing a specialist accounting role. I have the accounting and business skills to do the role and find the answers that stakeholders need.”
Veteran liquidator Shelley Brooks of Rodgers Reidy Tasmanian office said the industry was deterring women from entering.
“A significant impediment to addressing the gender imbalance in our industry is breaking down the barriers to winning new work and recognising that women can do the job just as well, if not better than, men,” she said.
“It’s a very competitive industry. When I first started as a liquidator I was lucky to have some genuine supporters.
“Women will be reluctant to pursue a career in insolvency if they think it will be too hard to win work and build a business.”
Earlier this month the Parliamentary Joint Committee Inquiry report on insolvency found the regime “overly complex” and “difficult to access”, creating “cost and confusion for both debtors and creditors”.
But it also recommended changes to the experience eligibility requirements for registered liquidators, “to address the inequity of the requirements and the gender imbalance in the population of registered liquidators”.
Rodgers Reidy claimed it had the smallest gender gap in the insolvency industry for firms with more than 10 registered liquidators, with 30 per cent women against an industry average of around 10 per cent.
Ms Wang said the Rodgers Reidy had a “proud history of advocating for gender equality” and its first two professional staff in 1999 were women.
“Despite the growth of the firm to more than 130 staff with offices in every state in Australia, NZ and Asia, the directors of RR remain focused on promoting gender equality,” she said.
West Australian office director Nicole Allmark said the firm encouraged the promotion of women to improve the gender ratio further and praised its support for female staff active in professional support groups.
They included the co-founder of APAC Women's Mentoring Circle Kaily Chua, president of Female Accountants Network Cassandra Risteska and president of Women in Insolvency and Restructuring Victoria Ebony Taylor.