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?"

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. 

In this ninth part of our series, six leaders from AppsFlyer, Edelman Malaysia, HEINEKEN Malaysia, Integral Ad Science, Tata Communications, and UnaBiz Singapore share how they are challenging gender stereotypes at work, and at home.

Beverly Chen, Marketing Director for APAC at AppsFlyer

It's important for women to have a voice, feel empowered to use their voice, and be heard by those around them. Here at AppsFlyer we make it a priority to hire our teams with diversity in mind and to make sure that we're championing our women.

We previously launched our Women’s Leadership Programme that has been a great platform for dialogue and support in a traditionally male-dominated industry.

Giving women the opportunity to be visible and accomplished leaders in their fields is necessary, so I’m glad we’ve started on a journey towards achieving this by encouraging and lifting each other up.

Mazuin Zin, Managing Director, Edelman Malaysia

I’ve always been grateful for having the chance to be born in a family where the conversation while growing up had always been around individuals and individuality. 

A mindset that I continue to carry when connecting with individuals at work, or competing with my much younger brother and his band of boys half my age over our weekend cycling sprints.

I have only my parents to thank for giving us these values and clarity on appreciating people beyond the biases and stereotypes.

Salima Bekoeva, Supply Chain Director, HEINEKEN Malaysia

Challenging stereotypes need to start with ourselves.

When I was given the opportunity by HEINEKEN to explore a career in supply chain, I had some doubts because my background was in finance. I am glad that I chose to challenge the norms because it has brought me on an exciting career journey from Russia to now Malaysia.

It is therefore important for us to work through any preconceived ideas that we may have, and to make a conscious choice to do better. 

I pledge to actively assess any decision I make about people in order to create a more inclusive environment – be it at work or at home.

Laura Quigley, SVP APAC, Integral Ad Science

Stereotypes won’t disappear unless people understand they are extremely limiting.

A stereotype I choose to challenge and encourage others to is around the confidence gap issue. It's made women keep their heads down and play by the rules. The stereotype is that if women work hard enough, their natural talents would be recognised and rewarded and I'd love to this shattered. I say raise your hand and be seen. Too many limiting beliefs, self-doubt and lack of confidence hold women back.

Seek role models who inspire by putting a good fight against stereotypes and show a bias for action (think Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign #banbossy).

On the personal front, I’m blessed to have a husband who has shattered the stereotype by choosing to be the trailing spouse, typically something that wives are known to do. He reorganised his priorities to make this work seamlessly for us. Hugely proud of my progressive personal and professional setup. #ChooseToChallenge.

Ina Bajwa, Sr. Director and Global Head of Learning, Organisation & Leadership Development, Tata Communications

Building an inclusive culture is key to ensuring that diversity of gender, thoughts, backgrounds, cultures and generations thrive at Tata Communications.

Our policies and practices support women in their different life stages, coupled with an environment of mutual trust and availability of an unbiased, level playing field where key talent processes are managed based on meritocracy.

We have leveraged technologies like Artificial Intelligence as key enablers, to eliminate bias in some of these processes, which promotes a healthy mix in the workforce that contributes to organisation’s success.

Jonathan Tan, Managing Director, UnaBiz Singapore

Personally, I believe gender equality and respect starts from home because our children’s self-perception will influence how they interact and participate in society in the future.

As a father of two daughters, I have always encouraged my children to be independent, to pursue their passion, and to take on leadership roles. E.g. My younger daughter is studying Smart City & Analytics in the School of Information System, which traditionally enrols more male students.

At UnaBiz, we embrace diversity and equality, where employment and advancements are based on merit.

In a male-dominated industry, we have a 40% female staff population and plenty of them taking on roles traditionally offered to males, such as firmware engineering and network management.

Photo / Provided [First row, L-R: Beverly Chen, Mazuin Zin, and Salima Bekoeva. Second row, L-R: Laura Quigley, Ina Bajwa, and Jonathan Tan]

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