Organisations should continue to promote gender equality in the workplace. This is the collective refrain of leaders across Asia, who firmly believe in the importance of role modelling passion and confidence in all that we do.

As part of our series of 22 stories under the overarching theme of #ChooseToChallenge, the team at Human Resources Online has asked more than 70 leaders: "What is one action you are taking at work, and at home, to challenge the existing gender stereotypes?"

In this 12th story in our series, leaders from Barco, True Group, AdNovum, and more share the following:

  • Organisations should continue to promote gender equality in the workplace.
  • Role model the importance of having passion and confidence in all that we do.
  • Encourage your team to strike a balance in genders when it comes to hires and workplace support.
  • The onus is on us to not stay silent and #ChooseToChallenge when faced with gender biasness.
  • Gender role development has to be inculcated since young.
  • Created a space to make work-life integration and work-family balance a possibility.

Joanne Heng, Vice President Field Marketing, APAC, Barco

Women have made their mark in business, fine arts, science, politics, and society at large. They are lauded for their perspectives and innate qualities such as tenacity, empathy, and critical decision-making.

Barco believes in building a workplace where every person has the ability to give their best and is excited to excel in what they do every single day.

We appreciate the soft skills our female leaders and colleagues bring to the table - tenacity, empathy, and critical decision-making.

Their ambition, consistent hard work, keen eye for detail, flexibility and persuasion help us enable bright outcomes every day. We ensure female representation in our board of directors and in our core leadership team as we continue to champion gender equality throughout the company.

Organisations should continue to focus on improving employee welfare and actively encourage and promote gender equality in the workplace.


Karen Mak, Vice President, Financial Planning & Analysis, Asia Product Supply, VF Corporation

Being part of an organisation that is committed towards nurturing a culture of workplace inclusion is a great way to start. As a co-sponsor of Women of VF Empowerment Network (WOVEN), I am able to use my experience to empower and mentor my associates, especially working mothers, in their moments of self-doubt and help them reclaim their voice and confidence in the workplace.

At home, these lessons are imparted to my three young children by role modelling the importance of having passion and confidence in all that we do, no matter the task or interest. The boys love cooking and my little girl loves obstacle courses and playing football!

There are no boundaries of what a boy or a girl could or should do at our home.

Step-by-step, we can strip away gender stereotypes for a truly equal world that we can feel proud of leaving to our children.


Reina Lim, Group COO & CFO, True Group

Though the fitness industry is a traditionally male-centric space, it is heartening to see women grow in numbers, impact, and power over the years. As COO & CFO of True Group, I proactively encourage my team to strike a balance in genders when it comes to hires and workplace support.

Standing with the ladies who lift, I also take it upon myself to offer female personal trainers an opportunity to grow with the True Group.

Diversity and inclusion have been proven to directly impact a company's bottom line and encourage a positive work culture, and I take comfort in being able to help create an equal and supportive environment for women seeking a career in the fitness industry.


Rivero Delgado, Area Vice President, Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives, Marriott International

Individually, we are all responsible for our own actions – at work and at home.

At Marriott International, women comprise 54% of the company’s workforce and hold some of the most significant positions in the company. Being a part of this wider group has allowed me to recognise the need to use my influence to uplift and champion women in the workplace.

It is heartening to see how organisations continue to make headway into gender equity, but as female leaders the onus is on us to not stay silent and #ChooseToChallenge when faced with gender biasness in any situation. More importantly we should always seek for opportunities that allow us to celebrate the achievements of other women.


David Chan, Managing Director, AdNovum Singapore

Without a doubt, gender role development has to be inculcated since young. Parents are often the main influence and have a huge impact on their children’s perceptions and behaviour.

There is thus no gendered division of household duties in my home - everyone takes equal responsibility and contribute however they can.

In the workplace, credit is given where credit is due. Performance is largely based on the individual’s capabilities and efforts. During interviews, I ensure that all candidates have an equal chance and we include some teammates in the interviewing process to ensure that the process is fair and transparent. We promote diversity and inclusion in all ways, not only gender, but also age, race, religion and other factors.


Dr Elaine Kim, Co-founder and CEO, Trehaus

All the work I am involved in is purpose and impact-driven and very much challenges the world to see that women have the ability to achieve anything if they are given the opportunity. At Trehaus, we have created a space to make work-life integration and work-family balance a possibility, letting professional mums have a successful career while prioritising family.

At CRIB, we empower women to become successful entrepreneurs, and provide access for women-led startups to get investor funding (only 3% of VC funding goes to female-led businesses).

At home, my husband, who has a busy career as a VC, is extremely supportive of my role as an entrepreneur and CEO, and we share the role of bringing up our three boys and managing the household together. 

Dr Elaine Kim is a Work-Life Ambassador (WLA) and a member of the Alliance for Action (AfA) on Work-Life Harmony (WLH), who advocates for WLH in the community and workplaces. Find out more about the WLA scheme here.


First row, L-R: Joanne Heng, Karen Mak, and Reina Lim. Second row, L-R: Rivero Delgado, David Chan, and Dr Elaine Kim. 

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