As part of our series of 22 stories under the overarching theme of #ChooseToChallenge, the team at Human Resources Online has asked more than 60 HR leaders about their organisation's call-to-action in shaping a workforce that celebrates gender equity.

In this 13th part of our series, HR leaders from Cover-More Group, Equinix Asia Pacific, F5, LeapVista, Singapore Sports Hub, and StashAway, share the following: 

  • It’s all about people. Not gender. Not nationalities. Not generations. Not sexual orientation.
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging being a strategic priority where all employees feel safe, that they belong, and they matter.
  • Only by prioritising a culture of inclusion and taking tangible actions can we strengthen women representation and in turn, enable equal opportunities for all.
  • Hiring by company values and competency fit.
  • Having the management team lead by example.
  • Being cognizant of biases while hiring to reduce them.

Kate Hughes, Chief Human Resources Officer, Cover-More Group

Cover-More is part of Zurich Group and Zurich has made significant improvements over the last few years when it comes to gender equity in the workforce. Before I joined Cover-More in Australia in 2020, I worked with Zurich Group in Switzerland and was part of an inspiring transformation that celebrated talented women and supported their rise to, and success in, executive leadership roles.

Our diversity and inclusion message was, and remains, simple. It’s all about people. Not gender. Not nationalities. Not generations. Not sexual orientation.

If you support that aspiration with good approaches to integrated talent management, wellbeing and employee experience, and learning and development, then results will follow. As a whole group, our numbers for female representation are impressive. At Cover-More, our Group CEO, Cara Morton, has three women in market-facing Chief Executives roles, out of a total of seven.


Hwa Choo Lim, VP for HR at Equinix Asia Pacific

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) is a strategic priority for Equinix; we create a workplace where all employees feel “I’m safe, I belong, I matter.”

We truly believe in having equal access to opportunities no matter how you look, your gender, your sexual orientation, etc. It’s about taking advantage of the richness of the diversity of perspectives we have to find better solutions together, be more innovative and have an environment where every single person can thrive.

We’ve invested in building a long-term strategy to achieve our DIB objectives. This includes a DIB governance structure, the launch of a cross-functional and global DIB working group, the formation of Equinix Employee Connection Networks – such as the Equinix Women Leaders Network, PrideConnect and InterAsian – to promote and support the diverse needs and goals of people with common interests, cultures and backgrounds.


Grace Cheong, Vice-President, HR, Asia Pacific, China and Japan at F5

In this digital age where ideas, efficiency and technical skills are prized, we see a technology industry that has made strides in improving gender bias and inequity. However, the issue of gender equity still persists.

Organisations have a substantial stake in closing the gap as an inclusive workforce brings new perspective, drives innovation, and makes technology more ‘human’. Only by prioritising a culture of inclusion and taking tangible actions can we strengthen women representation and in turn, enable equal opportunities for all.

At F5, we are doing our part to break down barriers and champion our women in tech. We have a Women Employee Inclusion Group and an F5 Connects Womxn initiative that organises events to provide female employees with career advice, leadership training, and networking opportunities.

Further, we have an ongoing mentorship programme that fosters more robust relationships between colleagues across the globe. Through our collective efforts, we can create an inclusive workforce and narrow the gap in gender equity.


Shannon Goh, Chief Operating Officer of LeapVista, who oversees the HR department

Celebrating International Women’s Day is the best first step organisations can take to show that they stand for gender equality. At LeapVista, we celebrate it to acknowledge and appreciate our valued female team members; and in my personal capacity, I often share my experiences and offer mentorship to inspire female members to become a leader in their own right.

One of LeapVista’s initiatives that push gender equality forward is to hire by company values and competency fit.

We also look beyond seniority and tenure to reward our team members based on merit, providing an equal platform for any individual to shine. We also believe that an individual’s capabilities are not set by gender or experience, but come down to four areas - learning ability, adaptability, self-awareness and the ability to implement. Anyone who shows exceptional ability in these areas will excel in any organisation regardless of age, experience, gender or race.


Kellen Eng, Assistant General Manager, Corporate Services and Operations, Singapore Sports Hub

When it comes to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy, leading by example is key for our management team, while ensuring the values and actions are woven into the everyday fabric of our culture and people.

At Singapore Sports Hub, our leaders continually discuss the best ways to equip our teams with the right tools and resources to put this into practice.

For example, as part of our DE&I journey, the venue operations team has embarked on an awareness e-learning module, mandatory workshops and regular webinars. Organisationally, across all our teams, we have dynamic females taking the lead. They demonstrate strong leadership; creating and enacting real change in their personal and professional capacities.

We are committed to building a workplace that values and leverages diversity to drive innovation through inclusion, and where gender is never a limitation.


Siewyee Bay, Head of People and Culture, StashAway

Being in the financial services and technology industries, we strive to continuously improve gender equity (e.g. compensation parity, gender representation across seniority levels, understanding the evolving needs of employees) everyday.

The diverse culture and workforce that we actively build at StashAway begins with recruitment. We balance hiring for merit with evaluating if we could do better at gender representation in specific departments, seniority levels and offices. We try to be cognisant of our biases to reduce them.

For example: using more gender-neutral phrases when describing job responsibilities, and ensuring that hiring managers are fairly evaluating the candidates.

Post-hire, we offer opportunities based on merit to expand employees’ responsibilities, engage them with challenging work, and ensure that their voices are heard and decision-making valued. These are primarily led by the managers, hence we assess each manager for objectivity, inclusivity and ability to care personally before hiring or promoting them.


Photos / provided

First row, L-R: Kate Hughes, Hwa Choo Lim, and Grace Cheong. Second row, L-R: Shannon Goh, Kellen Eng, and Siewyee Bay.

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