How Leaders Can Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace

What is Gender Equality in the Workplace?

This Sunday, 8th March, will be International Women’s Day. Celebrating work inclusiveness, we thought this would be a good opportunity to visit the topic of gender equality in the workplace.

As an advocate of female leadership and gender equality, we got  Bella Khan, our Associate Director of HR Outsourcing, and Scott Thomson, Links’ Group Managing Director, to speak on the promotion of gender equality at Links International.

Profile photos of Bella Khan and Scott Thomson

How has Links International supported gender Equality in the organisation?

Bella Khan:

At Links, women make up the large majority of the workforce. Many policies and benefits have both genders in mind. From flexible hours to a private breastfeeding room, Link is especially considerate towards women at work.

At Links, our people enjoy an equal opportunity to advance and grow. In my experience, being heard is as simple as speaking up. 

Scott Thomson:

We are very fortunate to have a workforce made up of 72% women with 63% of our management team being female! Our internal culture of promoting equal opportunities extends into everything we do.  For example, a big part of our role when providing recruitment services is encouraging clients to embrace diverse workforces. Putting our professional expertise to the line, we educate clients on the benefits a diverse workforce brings, opening them up to consider great candidates that they would otherwise miss out on.

What are the Biggest Challenges of Being a Woman in Leadership?

Bella Khan:

I find that there are two key challenges unique to being a woman in leadership. When working with other leaders, especially men, the greatest difficulty is overcoming organic differences. While with subordinates, the challenge is in understanding their concerns from their perspective.

In general, I find women tend to be more detail-oriented. Thinking through every step to make sure everything works before proceeding. Men, on the other hand, are more vision-driven. When it comes to making a decision, the challenge is in coming to a consensus and taking advantage of the different perspectives.

What is the advantage of gender balance in leadership & Management roles?

Scott Thomson:

A lot of research has shown the linkage between a diverse workforce and an organisation’s long term success, ability to innovate, and overall agility.  Women bring new viewpoints, ideas and even networks of contacts to the workplace, often opening up untapped opportunities.

As an organisation, Links wants to encourage and empower women to reach for their potential and this means celebrating women in leadership and having an open platform for everyone to speak out and grow. 

How has Links promoted gender equality in the workplace?

Scott Thomson:

We are fortunate enough to work in an industry in which women are very empowered and have been very successful (Often, the challenge is in finding male candidates to ensure we retain diversity!). 

As a business we actively celebrate IWD, promote our Equal opportunities policy and foster a transparent culture to make sure we treat everyone equally, recognising achievements regardless of gender. 

How Can Companies promote gender equality in the organisation?

Bella Khan:

Achieving gender equality comes down to 3 key things. Being attentive, showing appreciation, and listening. This means taking different views and perspectives into consideration. 

What advice would you give to others in leadership towards building a gender-equal world? 

Bella Khan:

An advice I’d give to others in leadership towards building greater gender balance is to embrace their role as a leader. This means being a mentor. To grow others as well as growing yourself, recognising shortcomings empowering others and trusting the team while providing strategic guidance. All this happens regardless of gender, and by keeping an open mind to the differences between individuals.

Scott Thomson:

There has been a lot of great momentum particularly in the last couple of years that is raising the awareness of women’s contributions to the workforce and which is changing people’s mindsets towards gender diversity.   You can see this with more organisations picking woman CEOs / women representation on board. 

Personally I learn the most from people who come from different backgrounds to myself.  My view has always been that we need to foster diversity to be successful and we should hire the best people regardless of their background/gender in order to be successful.  The war for attracting and retaining the best talent is too intense to limit yourself to a small candidate pool!

If you would like to be a part of the Links International, don’t forget to check out our Work With Us page to see our latest vacancies!

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