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Career Advice For Young Women From PwC’s Carol Sawdye

Underrepresentation of women in the workforce is part of a never-ending global discussion. Board rooms are largely dominated by male members while women rarely get promoted to decision-making roles.

Regardless of credentials and qualification, it is often harder for a woman to move up the corporate ladder than a man. It takes a greater amount of courage and hard work for a woman to brave all the odds and build a significant career.

In Bangladesh, things are much harder for women. It is hard to find women in leading roles in corporations. The number of women starting a business is also slim. When a woman succeeds, braving all the odds, it often meets with skepticism than applaud. The society is still largely misogynistic.

Despite all the challenges and cultural backlash, women are making progress. Women are starting companies and  occupying seats in boardrooms. However, the path forward is still steep one. There is more work to do.

Carol Sawdye, the vice chairman and chief financial officer of PwC, has an astounding body of work. In an interview, we republished from the Knowledge@Wharton, she shared some deep insight for women who are looking for a meaningful career.

An excerpt of her advice follows.

Accept the difference between men and women

There is common debate around the idea that how men are superior to women in various aspects. But we seldom talk about the superiority of women. While it is natural that men and women are different from each other, it often is discussed in a context which is unhealthy for all of us. What we need to do is that we need to acknowledge the difference and accept and celebrate our differences because that’s what makes men and women so complementary to each other.

“I would go on record to say there absolutely is a difference,” said Carol, “we need to be brave about that. We are different, men and women. And that’s a good thing, we should celebrate our differences.”

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Be more confident

Confidence is the new currency. It is more so for women. Women often face skepticism from their family, friends, and employers. It encourages self-doubt and a lack of confidence. But in order to make progress in life and achieve your goals, you need to be confident.

“I do think, though, that women need one specific piece of advice which is [to be more confident],” said Carol.

“Again, I bring up a story that Sheryl Sandberg told in [her book] Lean In, about the woman and man who look at the same job description for an opportunity and the man might have three of the credentials and say “I’m going to post for that job,” and a woman might have nine out of the 10 credentials for that job and say “I’m not qualified.”

“You know, women have to stop saying they’re sorry and they have to be willing to take a chance, and some of that is all of us having the confidence to take those chances. I think we need to help raise each other up and that’s men and women, by the way.”

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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