It's time for the next interview for the Women in Finance project, which focuses on gender discrimination and opportunities to build an outstanding career. Today we talk with Olga Panchenko, FCCA CIA, Partner at RSM UKRAINE - about the importance of a professional environment, the prospects for cryptocurrencies in Ukraine, and whether there is an example of an ideal employer.
Have you ever had a feeling that your gender might be a limiting factor when looking for a job?
Honestly, never. I work in the field of professional services, which traditionally engages women, so there’s always enough work for women. When I joined the team of professionals, who have founded the auditing company back in 1994, all the founders were women. But if I was looking for a job now, probably yes, top offers would be mostly men’s privilege.
Focusing on big business, how friendly is the professional environment for employees with children?
This is really a problem, because in big business work normally isn’t limited to working hours; and you don’t have enough time for the family. Even if you are at home, your thoughts often stay at work.
Do you believe that some professions can be exclusively male or female?
I believe that there are women who can do a job no worse than men, even in "masculine" professions or vice versa – men can be no worse than women in traditional women's jobs, for example, a nursery teacher. But I believe that the nature of women and men, in general, determines the style and methods of work in a particular field.
In your opinion, is the "glass ceiling" a reality in Ukraine or it’s just a topic for burning issues on social media?
In my opinion, a reality. Both in terms of appointment to a managerial position and in labor remuneration.
How do you feel about feminine gender-specific language, do you use it in speech/correspondence?
Generally, I feel neutral about it. Perhaps it even adds some authenticity to our language. I think in some time I will use it in speech and correspondence.
What is your opinion about sabbatical? Are there any chances companies and organizations in Ukraine will implement such a practice?
With the development of companies, this could be useful but a company must be financially capable to implement it.
Do you see any prospects for using cryptocurrencies in Ukraine?
To some extent, cryptocurrencies have already been used, and the more tax incentives there are, the more likely they will be used.
Have you ever dreamed of working abroad? If so, where?
Yes, I have; first in a European country and then in the United States.
If you aim to raise your value in the labor market, which skill should be given the most time?
It should be professional skills, developing your brand, communication abilities.
Is feminism still a hot topic for discussion in Ukraine?
Yes, I think so, because our society needs to get a deeper understanding of the issues concerning women's rights.
Is there an example of an inclusive employer or is it always just an image, while financial indicators remain the top priority?
A truly inclusive employer understands that inclusion benefits financial performance as well. Unfortunately, our business hasn’t achieved this level of understanding yet, so for now, it is rather an image.
In your opinion, how does upbringing influence girls’ future life, personal and professional development? What changes would you make?
Upbringing and parents’ example greatly influence girls’ further life and professional development. I would have gone to a music school and a dance club.
How important are your career and work for you? On a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is the minimum, 10 is the maximum.
For me, career and work mean financial independence which is essential for a decent life. But it is also very important that what you spend time on benefits society in the broadest sense. I put 7.
In your opinion, what forms of support from the company or organization would be most desirable for women, their promotion and development?
Supporting constant professional development, stimulation and motivation for professional and personal improvement.
What competencies and skills do you think girls should be taught today?
I think girls should be taught languages, mathematics, history, IT skills, analytical skills, psychology, communication skills.
We see hundreds of successful women in the media who built a career, raised capital and often have nothing to do with the creative professions. How important is it to talk about equality in Ukraine, if the "glass ceiling" was overcome by such a large number of people?
I think it is important – not all women are aware of their dignity and worth but it is essential for future and forthcoming generations.
Imagine that you have a chance to have a coffee with any person on the planet, man or woman. Who would it be?
Robert de Niro.
The interview was conducted before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.