IWD2020: Maria Cassidy

March 7, 2020

We proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2020. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.

We interviewed Maria Cassidy, Global Head of Tax at Advanz Pharma. 

#IWD2020  #EachforEqual

The theme for IWD2020 is #EachforEqual. Have you experienced gender stereotypes/gender bias in a professional context? If so, how have you been able to challenge this?

Over 20 years in tax I have not felt much gender bias in the work place as I feel I have always worked for forward looking companies with a strong interest in equality. I have had some job interviews which have taken me aback for the complete lack of awareness of both employment law and how their company may be perceived as a good employer of women. My favourite interview questions have been: 
1. I saw you did a maths degree at Cambridge. They say women aren’t good at maths 
2. What’s a nice young lady like you doing in tax? ( I was 44 at the time, so it was hard not to be appalled and flattered at the same time) 
3. How many kids have you got?

I’d like to say I replied to all of these with a suitably robust feminist response, but the shock level was such I could barely do more than raise an eyebrow. Needless to say, I didn’t go work there.

What does equality in the workplace look like for you?

Walking into a meeting and not being the only woman. 
Not having to engage in women’s forum’s because they shouldn’t be needed. 
Men being the champions of gender equality as much as women.

How do you think parental leave should be approached in 2020?

Widely encourage men to take parental leave and celebrate and publicise those who do in your organisation.

Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company they are employed by.