International Women’s Day is a time for all of us to reflect on the progress made in advancing gender equality, to call for change and to celebrate the success of women in different fields.
As the General Manager of the ASEAN region for Workday, I am very privileged to be one of the few or perhaps the only Asian female regional leader based in Singapore for a NASDAQ-listed, Fortune Future 50 enterprise technology company.
While there have been more women on the boards of SGX-listed companies, there is still much to be done to improve gender equality in the workplace. Till now, there are still only 15.2% of women on these boards even though there has been a 50% increase since 2014.
Business leaders continue to play an integral role in empowering women at work through enacting change and reinforcing a culture that embraces diversity. Promoting diversity within the organization starts from the selection process and it takes conscious efforts by the company to remove bias against women during the selection process. Small steps such as hiding the biodata of interviewees can be taken so that candidates can be recruited based on their suitability for the role instead of their gender.
Tackling the gender gap
Supporting women in the workplace by providing flexible working arrangements and helping to build a personalized career development plan for them is also important. Companies can leverage existing human resource management technologies to keep track of the wellbeing of female employees within the organization. Employee data generated as a result of such technologies can also help the HR department to better understand the proportion of women in different departments and their capabilities to provide more targeted support.
Fifteen prominent UK organizations have recently signed a commitment to work towards mandatory ethnic pay gap reporting in a bid to tackle inequality in the workplace. I am sure it would not be long before Singapore follow suit as more companies see salary disparity as a business concern. There should be no excuse for female and males to receive differing pay if they are doing the same job and I believe this should also apply to different nationalities and races as well.
At Workday, we know that pay parity is an ongoing journey. As our Chief HR Officer says, we will continue to monitor it on a regular basis, as well as continue to enhance Workday applications to support this work for both ourselves and our customers.
And being a mother myself, I also understand the importance of laying the foundation today for future generations. We need start taking steps and pushing for initiatives to ensure that our children enter a workforce that’s equal and fair, where everyone’s contributions are valued regardless of their gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other attribute.
Diversity cannot be achieved purely for diversity’s sake, or at the expense of an organization’s other obligations. Women should be taking up leadership roles in the organization to serve a purpose and to bring value to a company. With greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace, I believe that the bottom-line, which is the key consideration for most businesses, can be enhanced and