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HR feature on gender diversity on IWD

What HR leaders from Digi, MasterCard, Hilton are pledging this International Women’s Day

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The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then in 2015, just a year later, it estimated that the current slow pace of progress meant the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133.

This International Women’s Day, with the theme of “Pledging for Parity”, Human Resources asked HR directors across Asia – what is your organisation’s pledge for ensuring gender parity – be it in workforce, pay, or culture?

Read their pledges below.

Haroon Bhatti, chief human resource officer, Digi Telecommunications
We encourage a balanced mix of candidates when recruiting, and this year, have implemented several programmes to advance women in leadership. Digi welcomed its second female board member in July 2015, making up the 30% board inclusion strategy, with more in the pipeline.

In November 2015, we introduced the Women’s Inspirational Network (WIN) as a platform to advance women through management levels through mentorship by top management, and exposure and networking opportunities with other globally successful women leaders.

In January 2016, our new six-month paid maternity leave policy came into effect. It is our goal to attract and retain the best talent, male or female, and we are confident that the revised maternity leave policy will make Digi not only a very attractive place to work, but also a place in which women can build careers, continue to fill the ranks of our leadership and support their families.

Brendan Toomey, vice president of HR, Asia Pacific at Hilton Worldwide
Our target is that by 2017, women will represent 20% of all our general managers and hotel managers in Asia Pacific. In support, we have lined up a number of Women in Leadership workshops and conferences which have to date engaged more than 270 of our managers.

We recognise that gender parity in education also plays a key role, which is why in 2015, we stepped up our partnership with Room to Read in India and Sri Lanka to launch a first-of-its-kind job shadowing programme to introduce career opportunities in hospitality to 300 young female students over the following three years.

Mike McCarthy, group head of HR, Asia Pacific at MasterCard
We value equality, diversity and inclusion, and we welcome men and women, of diverse cultures, creeds and ethnicities to the table. However, we understand that women in many parts of the world remain significantly underrepresented in leadership positions despite increasingly having the knowledge, skills and capabilities required.

And we’re committed to changing that. We’ve partnered with UN Women’s HeForShe campaign to show our support for a representative workforce that supports women so they can break the now infamous glass-ceiling.

It’s a great opportunity not just to support the advancement of women in our business, but equality in our wider communities as well. We believe that when you empower a woman, you empower everyone around her too.

Julie Zhou, HR vice president at Sanofi Asia
Our mission is to create a Sanofi with excellent gender balance, and inculcate an environment and culture which can support our women employees in order to help them and our business to grow.

Initiatives to do this are led by a regional Women Leadership Council, comprising 16 passionate men and women. These members represent the different countries and business activities of Sanofi Asia Pacific and they sponsor initiatives deployed locally.

At a regional level, the main initiatives are the Catalyst programme, a work-life flexibility system, and mentoring opportunities. Catalyst is a three-day leadership programme targeting high potential women.

Over the next three years, 200 women will be invited to attend this immersion, which aims at helping them overcome the barriers to their careers, and build self awareness and confidence.

Jasmine Koh, HR director for APAC, Smaato
Currently, we are at almost 50/50 gender balance and will continue to work towards 50/50 in 2016. We are committed to change the traditional mentality and pay particular attention our female employees by supporting them to have fulfilling careers and be given the same opportunities as men.

As a part of our gender parity goal, we pledge to double our share of women workforce in Asia by 2017 and aim to give more women the opportunity to lead at senior positions.

At the helm of our gender parity support is Petra Vorsteher, the chief alliances officer and co-founder, who leads the Women in Wireless programme, a non-profit organisation that empowers female leaders in mobile and digital media through inspirational webinars, leadership development, and mentoring.

Another initiative Smaato practises under the fair work guidelines is gender pay equality, and we hire based on competencies and experience instead of gender biases.

Vanessa Yen, head HR for Asia institutional banking and markets, at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)
For IWD, we will host an awareness and sharing event inviting all Hong Kong employees at our newly established Innovation Lab in our Hong Kong office. The event will screen an inspiring TedTalk by Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Can we all ‘have it all’?”. We have also invited our male senior executives to share how attaining the goal of gender equality could benefit us all.

In conjunction with the awareness event, CBA will also roll out practical action aimed at changing the trajectory of women’s advancement and help accelerate gender equality. We will participate in the Suits for Success campaign in partnership with Women in Finance Asia (WIFA) and Project Share.

We will collect both men and women’s business attires from our employees and donate them to underprivileged young adults in HK for job interview and office attire use.

Nora Mahbob, HR director at L’Oréal Malaysia
Under the L’Oréal Share & Care Program, the objective is to provide all employees regardless of gender, with the same social benefits in four key areas – health, social protection, parenting and quality life at work.

As part of our policy, we have introduced 14 weeks maternity leave, maternity allowance, flexi-work hours, option to work from home,  increased IT support for mobility access and provided a nursing room.

Our pledge is to continue to provide the most innovative benefits and supportive work environment to keep mothers in the workforce.

And with that, the team at Human Resources wishes you an engaged and diverse workforce this year. Let’s affirm our commitment to building all aspects of diversity at the workplace, be it in gender, ethnic background, skills, age, or industry experience. 

Image: Shutterstock



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