International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the amazing women who have come before us, who fought so hard for the rights that many of us now take for granted. It’s a day to think about what we can do as members of society, to ensure that we play an active role in ensuring that men and women have equal opportunities. Rebecca Dean, Senior Legal Counsel and Deputy Company Secretary at Regis, took the time to talk to us about what IWD means to her.

Breaking down the bias

“I have attempted to break down stereotypes and challenge bias by showing my children that their parents are partners in their parenting and that the primary carer and primary earner roles in our household are not gender specific. From the time I was a child, I have tried to call out and challenge sexist and misogynistic behaviour and identify the gender biases so prevalent in our society – you can imagine how that went down in the playground! However, this led me to completing a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Women’s Studies. More recently, I’ve tried to model a style of leadership and professionalism, which embraces the value of empathy and compassion, supporting and lifting up the women around me in their professional pursuits, in a way which hopefully also allows them to pursue having a family if they wish to do so.”

We all have a part to play

“We all have a role to play in breaking down gender bias and this starts with supporting and lifting up the women around you. It also includes pursuing your professional goals so that other women can see that it’s possible. The saying ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ is 100% true. As part of my role at Regis, I have the opportunity to work closely with the Executive Team, The Board and Regional General Managers, General Managers and the business broadly. One of the things I love about this is seeing the variety of women in leadership roles across our business, and how different their styles of leadership are. I continue to learn every day from these women.  My advice is to look for organisations which prioritise having both men and women in leadership positions, as Regis does.”

The people who inspire me

“My mum has inspired me in my life. From an early age she taught me about sexism and feminism and the challenges that women, and men face, because of this sexism. My mum taught me how to be a woman who can identify and call out gender bias and role modelled what advocacy in this space looks like.

I have worked at Regis for ten years. For a majority of that time, I worked with a wonderful boss who was incredibly generous with his knowledge and supported me to grow both professionally and personally. I started as a young Legal Counsel. I have taken time off to have children, worked full time, part time, and even for a period, casually a few hours a week. In amongst those changes, I have been promoted from Legal Counsel, to Senior Legal Counsel and then to Senior Legal Counsel & Deputy Company Secretary. I am lucky enough to now have a new boss who continues to support me to grow both personally and professionally. I have also been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work under the direct supervision of Linda Mellors for a period of time where I learnt so much, in a short space of time. I continue to really value Linda’s mentorship and how she models leadership.”