Morning readers and Happy International Women's Day (IWD)!
Today is a day to celebrate the achievements of women, raise awareness about women's equality and fast track gender parity.
In response to this year's theme 'Choose To Challenge': Daring the world to take the initiative to make a difference, six leaders in Hong Kong share their pledges and shed light on the subject with Human Resources Online.
READ MORE about this year's International Women's Day:
Nadia Zhu, regional managing director for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at the Executive Centre, wants to challenge all organisations — not only in the corporate real estate industry — to actively create pathways for females to rise into leadership positions.
How does #ChooseToChallenge resonate with you?
"I have always believed that it is through challenges and navigating through difficult times that we experience the most profound personal developments. Challenges makes one tougher, smarter, more resilient, and flexible by being able to draw on more life experiences. In this way, one can grow more to become a better individual and leader. To choose to challenge is to choose to change, grow and take positive actions towards a greater future. It also means constantly insisting on equality and diversity in the workplace, and creating an environment where ideas are welcomed and valued regardless of where they come from."
How is the Executive Centre celebrating IWD this year?
"This year, we have asked some of our senior female leaders at TEC to share with us what certain words means to them, such as 'equality', 'collaboration', 'respect' and 'balance'.
I will be contributing to this campaign with the word 'Empowerment'. To me, it means ensuring women have access to the tools and resources they need to achieve all that they are inherently capable of by themselves. In the words of the poet Atticus, “she wasn’t looking for a knight, she was looking for a sword.”
We will also showcase videos from our female members who will share their experience and inspirations as a woman via social media channels and company blog. In addition, we are partnering with external organisations to discuss the challenges that women leaders face today, including participating a webinar with the Italian Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong and Macau, sharing inspirational content for Urban Land Institute’s Women in Leadership Initiative, and co-hosting an IWD fair with Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide."
Peck Yeow Gan, human resources director for AXA Asia, wants to challenge companies to recognise that it is important to nurture women and give them an environment where they can grow and be successful.
How is AXA celebrating IWD this year?
"We have chosen to partner with Lensational, an NGO working to elevate the voices of underrepresented women through the medium of photography.
We have invited our staff in Asia to take a photo of them holding up their hand and sharing a short personal #Choosetochallenge statement in front of a backdrop provided by Lensational. The staff can then post the photos on their own social media platforms.
We will also host a fireside chat with Sally Wan, our CEO from AXA Hong Kong as an inspiring and engaging event for our staff as part of our employee luncheon series."
Sharon Cheng, chief people office at Tricor Group, wants to challenge the bias that certain jobs are more suited to a certain gender.
How does #ChoosetoChallenge resonate with you?
"My belief from the very beginning of my career has always been to never settle just because it is the status quo, and that is why this year’s theme of #ChoosetoChallenge really resonates with me. I would not only remind myself, but also the people around me, to always choose to do the right thing and that doesn’t always necessarily mean doing things right according to status quo or according to how most 'perceive' it as the right way of doing things."
Susanne Harris, partner at Mayer Brown and co-chair of its women network in Asia 'RAW' (Retain and Advance Women), wants to challenge the inequity of opportunity for advancement in the workplace.
How does #ChooseToChallenge resonate with you?
"The impact of Covid makes this year’s theme for IWD timely. Covid created challenges and we have all been challenged by it. For me, #ChoosetoChallenge resonates in three ways.
First, it is a reminder that to bring about the change to achieve gender equality, we must question everything we do. What are our ways of working, and how does it impact women?
Second, we need to challenge others and call out gender inequality when we see it at home, in the workplace and in our community.
Third, #ChoosetoChallenge is a call to come together, take action and make change. Bringing about change is a challenge, but in my view, we should not shy away from a challenge as important as gender inequity. How can we do things differently and how can we turn our goals into tangible outcomes that bring about meaningful change?
The development of the Covid vaccine demonstrated how innovative and resourceful the world can be when presented with a global challenge. What science and health care achieved during Covid should give us all hope that if we choose to challenge gender inequality together, we can create a workplace that is gender diverse and inclusive at all levels."
How is Mayer Brown celebrating IWD this year?
"Amita Haylock and I are co-chairs of RAW. We will lead a virtual webinar with three women of influence, clients of Mayer Brown, to talk about how they each 'choose to challenge' in their personal and professional lives. This event will be attended by staff from our offices in Asia. We will also distribute fruit and IWD cookies to our staff, and launch our inter-RAW Network #ChooseToChallenge walkathon to raise funds throughout March for Hong Kong charity, Mother's Choice."
Veronica Wang, partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, wants to challenge the significant gender gap in representation at senior leadership levels, which remain largely dominated by men across most industries.
How is OC&C celebrating IWD this year?
"One of our key global initiatives is a female leadership lecture series where prominent external female speakers have the opportunity to share their views on this topic and provide professional advice for our colleagues to create more inclusive workplaces. Our offices around the world will also be organising local networking events for our team to bond, catch up and celebrate our achievements."
Peggy Choi, Lynk's founder and CEO, wants to challenge everyone to build a more gender-equal world by amplifying the voices of female experts and helping more girls around the world gain access to knowledge.
How is Lynk celebrating IWD this year?
Clinging to the belief that a gender-equal world is achievable by promoting more female leaders and their voices all year round, Lynk is supporting the Malala Fund for its second consecutive year to promote female literacy and diversity of thought by curating a community of global female thought leaders through its flagship female initiative, Lynk Elite Expert Women.
For the entire month, the company will donate HK$100 to the Malala Fund for every senior female expert joining the Lynk Elite Expert Women community.