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We believe that as individuals, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – at work and at home. As people leaders at work and role models at home, the impacts of our actions are amplified through our influence on others.
As part of our series of 22 stories under the overarching theme of #ChooseToChallenge, the team at Human Resources Online reached out to about 70 leaders (women and men - because we believe men play a part too) to ask "What is one action you are taking at work, and at home, to challenge the existing gender stereotypes?"
In this 14th story in our series, leaders from Criteo, edotco Group, ESET APAC, Johnson Controls, Localsearch, London Stock Exchange Group, and REDHILL share the following:
- Using their voice to spotlight capable women who are unheard.
- Striving to be an example that women can excel in what were once male-dominated roles.
- Leaving gender out of the equation when it comes to hiring, training and work opportunities for the team.
- Mentoring women who are trying to return to the workplace after a gap from the workforce.
- Prioritising personality, existing skills, and cultural fit when hiring.
- Challenging existing stereotypes by driving conversations around uplifting women.
- Hearing all the voices on the team and keeping an open mind.
Pauline Lemaire, Regional Managing Director Retail Media, Southeast Asia and Australia, Criteo
The first step is to speak up—female talents are often overlooked when they are not advocated for.
As a leader, I believe in using my voice to spotlight capable women who are unheard. This includes supporting them in sharing their views, and best work, and providing them with visibility to senior leadership.
I also believe that gender equality starts at home. As parents, we have a significant role in educating our children and dispelling gender stereotypes.
For the next generation to continue pushing for greater gender equality, we need to start with cultivating their understanding and being role models of how they can practice this in their own lives.
Ir. Kumari Nalini P. Subramaniam, Director of Engineering & Technology edotco Group.
In my position as the Director of Engineering and Technology at edotco Group, I strive to be an example that women can excel in what were once male-dominated roles.
At edotco, we empower women with opportunities to excel. While undoubtedly challenging, women turn challenges into successes with the right mindset and focus. The inherent ability of women to be creative allows us to discover and seize opportunities for innovation! Women also have tenacious attention to detail - an asset which drives efficiency and productivity at edotco and all other industries striving for excellence.
50% of our engineers are women and this reaffirms the fact that a variety of perspectives contributes positively to the overall advancement of connectivity across our footprint.
I believe that every person in the organisation has a role to play in championing gender diversity towards an inclusive society as it is not just a singular agenda.
Jane Ng, Head of Marketing, ESET APAC
Having climbed the corporate ladder in a male-dominated cybersecurity industry, I understand the hurdles faced by women in advancing their career.
At work, I always leave gender out of the equation when it comes to hiring, training and work opportunities for my team, so everyone has an equal chance to succeed regardless of their gender, race or social background.
Personally at home or around my peers, I’ll always encourage the women around me to speak up confidently and believe in their own abilities. All of us have a vital role to play in removing the glass barrier and the gender stereotypes in our society.
My advice to all the aspiring talents out there: Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Sonali N. Narasimhan, Regional Head of Compliance, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls
Women who had to give up their careers to care for their family often believe that they are unable to return to the workplace or create a meaningful career after a lengthy gap from the workforce. There is a gender stereotype at play here and this is something I’m deeply committed to challenge.
For one, I have been setting aside time to personally mentor women who are trying to return to the workplace.
Through the mentorship and many discussions, I seek to highlight the skills that these women have accumulated at home, such as multi-tasking, patience, problem solving and crisis management, and remind them these qualities are equally valuable in the workplace.
Catherine McGarry, Executive Director and Chief Operations Officer, Localsearch
At Localsearch, we have implemented a number of key practices to help encourage diversity, not just in the SEO space, but within the wider tech industry.
For instance, 66% of our SEO team identify as female, defying the national figure of 68.4% who identify as male. Plus, five of the seven members of our marketing team are female, with three of these using SEO daily in their roles. Even within our leadership team, 40% of the positions are held by those identifying as female, while the national average sits at 31.5%.
When hiring, we prioritise personality, existing skills and cultural fit to ensure all employees feel comfortable, safe and respected.
Often talent is right under their noses and employers neglect their own staff when it comes to hiring or promoting from within. In our marketing space, we’ve been working with major universities to develop an internship program, as well as mentoring opportunities, with discussions to expand this into more STEM-related areas.
Vernice Moh, Managing Director, ASEAN, Data & Analytics, London Stock Exchange Group
While Asia’s financial industry has made positive headways in board gender diversity in the last few years, there is still a lot of room for companies in the region to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
I choose to challenge the existing stereotypes by driving conversations around uplifting women in the financial industry where it remains largely dominated by men.
This means breaking down barriers, setting actionable diversity targets and creating opportunities for women to progress into leadership roles. I believe this should be at the forefront of corporate agendas to really challenge the status quo and create an environment where women can achieve their potential.
Charu Srivastava, Senior Director of PR, REDHILL
I am a strong believer in building a team based on merit and potential – that transcends hiring to actually giving a voice to all.
This means that I constantly remind and encourage my team to speak up, share their thoughts and perspective, for richer conversations and discourse for better collaborative output and outcomes. It is amazing how such a simple action can make a big difference.
It is also important that I hear all the voices on my team, looking beyond hierarchy and keeping an open door / mind, to better myself as a leader.
As the saying goes, “Treat others how you want to be treated”. I hope more such simple actions get adopted at home and at work for us to drive the change we want to see.
Photo / Provided [First row, L-R: Pauline Lemaire, Ir. Kumari Nalini P. Subramaniam, Jane Ng, and Sonali N. Narasimhan. Second row, L-R: Catherine McGarry, Vernice Moh, and Charu Srivastava.]