This year's International Women's Day theme is #BreakTheBias. What does this slogan mean to you in your work life?
This resonates a lot with me. To me, it simply means inclusivity and unity. There is no differentiation to any of us, we should all be seen equally and be working towards the same goals.
What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I've been fortunate enough to not have experienced prejudice first-hand, although I have heard of stories from people that they are in organisations where there's a glass ceiling for women to progress to the management level, especially in this part of the world.
There has been considerable progress in today's world for women to be in the workforce, particularly mums, where they are presented with equal opportunities for promotions and key roles within the business. In the past, as we all know, women were typically expected to stay home and look after the family. By not doing so, they were seen as not fulfilling the "women's role". I am glad we have evolved and that everyone is contributing, both at home and at work.
Which women have supported or inspired you in your career path?
My mum is a good reference point, where she has her own business and still takes care of her family. She has her own entrepreneurial ambitions, and she goes on to pursue them.
On the professional front, I had my first-born last year and I'm extremely fortunate to have a boss who understands. It was initially a bit of a struggle, with some changes made to my team during my absence, but I was provided with great support on my return and was able to restore the team back to where it should be.
I've also met several multi-hyphenated women that sit on multiple Boards while having a loving family at home, spending quality time with their loved ones, keeping fit and pursuing their personal interests. That to me, is a HUGE aspiration that I am looking forward to. Key learning here is: Know when to switch off!
How do we encourage more women to join recruitment?
We must continue to promote and live by our ED&I mission, highlighting a culture where we embrace all the core values of a balanced workforce. These days men are as equally conscious about this, so it’s important to emphasize our support for ED&I to all potential incumbents, not just women!
Why do we need more women in leadership?
To achieve a balanced and holistic view! We are equal but we shouldn't deny the fact that we are still somehow wired differently (read: Men from Mars, women from Venus). It's incredibly important to get perspectives from different angles.
How important is it to have male allies who may support women's progression?
It's extremely important. It’s always nice to have allies, male or female, but with male allies supporting women's progression it further cements the idea of equality and inclusivity in society.
Hopefully this can serve as a reference point for countries who are still backward on that. In some parts of Asia gender inequality is still relatively prevalent. People are pushing extremely hard for a day where they aren't judged by their gender, but by their contribution and merits.