In the spirit of International Women’s Day this Sunday – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and calling for gender parity – Human Resources Hong Kong talked exclusively with Veronica Mak, MD, Human Resources, PineBridge Investments and Lucy Liu, MD for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan at The Executive Centre to get their thoughts on gender equality in Hong Kong workplaces and how their companies promote the issue.

For businesses in Hong Kong, Liu said it would be generally difficult to say if the city has built a gender-equal work environment, citing the fact that Hong Kong is a rich and diverse environment where various industries are either female or male oriented.

She added that it’s highly dependent on the culture of the organisation as to whether the employer is providing opportunities and empowering women to succeed in their roles – meaning addressing their professional development as much as addressing their challenges or celebrating their triumphs.

Mak believes that an intervention from the government, such as legislation, can undoubtedly play a critical role in fostering any change, on top of promoting gender equality among businesses.

Some of the best HR initiatives for women at Pine Bridge include organising cultural fluency training to teach strategies for adapting inclusive behaviors to work effectively across differences, specifically cultural and gender differences; adopting policies that incorporate diversity and inclusion into its daily business operations to ensure that individuals from all backgrounds have access to the same development and promotional opportunities; participating in compensation surveys and conducting annual pay-gap analyses to ensure equality in its pay practices.

The office provider The Executive Centre also ensures that promotion and development of its female leaders happened naturally by respecting their opinions, listening to what they have to say and incorporating this feedback when making decisions. In fact, while over 60% of its workforce are female, six out of eight of its regional heads are women and three out of six department leaders at its headquarters are women.

When it comes to helping other women to advance in their careers, as a female leader herself, Liu pinpoints to actively support, lead by example and empower the team to pursue their targets working as one family.

“Women are powered with patience, care and are detail minded. I encourage female team members to work with the strengths they possess, and to overcome their weaknesses step by step to further improve and advance,” Liu said.