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 fourth part of our series, leaders from Align Technology, Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies, Micron Semiconductor Asia Operations, Mutant, SGInnovate, and VP Bank share how they are challenging gender stereotypes at work, and at home.

Julie Tay, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Align Technology

Dream big, make your presence known and cultivate your personal brand. Once you are clear about the brand image you want to build and continue to reinforce that, people will recognise you for who you are and what you stand for, and not your gender.

With that in mind, I am always ready to speak my mind and make my voice heard.

That also comes with the responsibility of speaking up with intention and being able to deliver to build credibility, as part of building my personal brand.

Sandra Teh, Head of APJC, Global Employer Brand at Amazon Web Services (AWS)

At Amazon Web Services, we champion women who innovate, lead, and uplift others towards a more equal and inclusive world. For IWD2021, our builders delivered a series of webinars to recognise the commitment of our women at Amazon, and the contributions by our awesome women customers and partners.

We challenge ourselves to be bold and to think bigger about the possibilities ahead, with women leading some of our largest and most innovative businesses and having a positive impact on our products and services.

At home, I always share these stories with my daughters, encouraging them to stay curious and creative, and be explorers.

Eric Goh, Vice President & Managing Director, Singapore, Dell Technologies

Driving inclusivity is an ongoing process as it involves bringing about a cultural change, helping people be aware of the biases that exist and take conscious steps to eliminate them.

I practice active listening whenever I talk to people, which helps me encourage conversations around inclusivity and educate team members about gender bias.

These conversations allow me to understand the team’s concerns and create an open environment where true talent is recognised and acknowledged, giving growth opportunities irrespective of gender. More than just keeping my ears open, I believe in keeping my heart open. 

I do my best to be an empathetic listener to build a strong team that does not believe in defining gender roles.

Kathy Teoh Siew Ying Senior Director, Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Business Partner (Asia), Micron Semiconductor Asia Operations (a subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc.)

From November 2020 to August 2021, Micron is embarking on an inclusion ally program where our female team members take a deliberate step to engage with their male counterparts as their allies.

Through storytelling, we demonstrate the various negative effects stereotypical gender biases can bring about. At the same time, we elaborate on what good allyship means and what actions allies can take to empower women both in the workplace and at home.

I personally debunk the myth "men take charge, women take care," as my father has taken on domestic duties for my sister and me since young as the sole parent and breadwinner.

Rebecca Lewis, Strategic Director at Mutant

My mantra is “progress, not perfection”.

Women are held to higher standards than men and society rewards us for not making mistakes - but perfection is the enemy, and to continue rising in our careers we must instead focus on a growth mindset.

This is why I launched the Mutant Mentorship programme, to create an environment where staff feel challenged, supported, and where speaking up and questioning is encouraged.

On a personal level, progression has been the foundation of my journey as a mother and athlete.

Every day, I challenge myself to take small steps in the direction I want to go, and I now share this message via the Project Woman podcast. Eventually, those small steps turn into leaps forward, one day at a time.

SzeKi Sim, Executive Director, Community & Brand, SGInnovate

As a leader in an organisation that seeks to empower Deep Tech startups to solve the world’s hardest problems, it’s crucial that my team comprises diverse thinkers and go-getters to give us the foresight and gumption to break new grounds as our ecosystem development role demands.

Thus, I proactively bring onboard new talent who can ideate, innovate and challenge ourselves towards building a team founded upon equal opportunities and treatment. I also ensure progression pathways to develop their potential and shine individually — not typecasting anyone based on their differences.

Likewise, diversity takes centre stage in the community-building work that we do, as we create and curate a vast suite of events, insights and content to engage our universe of stakeholders, including research scientists, startup founders, investors, industry partners and more.

Karen Tan, Head of Private Banking, VP Bank Singapore Branch

As a female in the male-dominated finance industry, it is not uncommon to experience gender discrimination. I understand the importance for an organisation to create a working environment where females are celebrated and recognised for their work, and not merely marginalised due to their gender.

As Head of Private Banking at VP Bank Singapore Branch, I always strive to cultivate a culture and processes where my staff are recognised and rewarded based on their performance, capabilities and dedication to work - regardless of their gender.

At home, in certain cultures (particularly Asia), there remains a gender stereotype that married women’s priorities lie with their in-laws, more so than their immediate family. However, I reject this notion - I have lived with my mother for 46 years, caring for her needs in her old age.

Photo / Provided [ First row, L-R: Julie Tay, Sandra Teh, Eric Goh. Second row, L-R: Rebecca Lewis, SzeKi Sim, Karen Tan.]

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