Fifty young girls enjoyed a real-world work experience at all five offices of BDO South Africa on Thursday, 25 May as part of the annual Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day.
The initiative is aimed at empowering and developing young teenage girls by exposing them to positive role models, career guidance and to the working world. This will expose them to a crucial and inspiring glance into their possible future careers.
“Twenty five girls were selected by the schools who are a part of BDO’s Adopt-a-School programme and the other 25 girls were nominated by our staff,” says Bonita de Wet, Audit Partner and Head of Transformation at BDO. “We asked all of our 800 staff to each put forward one grade 10 - 12 girl learner to take part.
“This gave us the opportunity to uplift 25 girls from disadvantaged schools, who are aspiring future leaders” continues De Wet.
The initiative, which began in 2003, is an annual corporate social investment event that aims to empower young women and bridge the gender inequality gap by providing these youngsters with an early exposure to the various career opportunities available to them.
The girls were in Grades 10 to 12 and came from a few schools including BDO’s adopted schools: Temple Valley Secondary School in Verulam (which is adopted by our Durban office), Realogile Secondary School and Newgate College (which are adopted by our Johannesburg office), Walmer Senior Secondary School (adopted by our Cape Town office) and FH Odendaal Secondary School (which is adopted by our Pretoria office).
The inspirational opening set the tone for the day. After being welcomed to the office by the BDO group CFO, Sam Dansie (in person in Johannesburg and via live streaming regionally) the girls were taken off into the various departments within the organisation (auditing, accounting, advisory, shared services and tax departments), to experience first-hand the inner workings of the professional service firm. They were assigned people of various levels in a department to sit with to gain insight of different roles within a department in order to understand a working and career cycle within the department.
After gaining insights and learning as much as they could, the girls had an in-depth feedback presentation session, discussing with their peers what they had gleaned from the experience. The day ended with a certificate handover ceremony where each girl was recognised for her participation for the day.
“Today’s society is so marred with negative views on women and we still have a disparity between the way women are treated in the workplace. We hope through spending time with some of the women and men in our office these young girls will aspire for more than what society may make them believe they can achieve. We believe change can only happen when you show the youth how they should act and be treated, from responsible adults,” says De Wet.