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A Reminder on Women's Equality Day

August 26th was Women's Equality Day.    

Rather than reminding ourselves that it has only been 101 years since it became illegal to prevent someone from voting on the basis oftheir gender in the US, let us take the time to try to see how far we have come since then and how much work needs to be done to get to where we are to truly achieve gender equality.    

Here are some interesting numbers from an Asia perspective:

Accordingto the Corporate Directors Women International 2020 CWDI Report, only 15.1% of women in Asia sit on corporate boards. To give some context, Asia lags behind many other major geographic regions - Northern Europe, (37.6%), US/Canada (28.6%), Western Europe (26.5%), Central and Eastern Europe (19.3%), and sub-Saharan Africa (19.1%).

From agender pay gap perspective, the HR Network Exchange Asia reported in 2020 that the overall gender pay gap in Asia is 19.3% - higher than the global gap at 16.1%. Paradoxically, in fast growing markets like India and China, the gap is lower at 14.4% and 11.5% respectively. 

One mistake I see a lot of is thinking if we can't do it all, then we have failed. A counterintuitive, silver lining from the pandemic has been the opportunity to know get to our colleagues, willingly or not, on a more personal level. Through virtual meetings, we saw our common struggles - from trying to pacify young children who are in lockdown with us all day, to elderly parents needing more care and attention because their world has also been turned upside down as well.    

We saw vulnerability, genuineness, and also resilience. Basically, we saw humanity and that it was okay to ask for help. That the willingness to ask for help is apart of being a responsible human being - to ensure we are able to continue toflourish despite all odds, despite all obstacles.    

And this hopefully has helped us realize that it is okay not to be "doing it all". As my good friend Shirley Zhang puts it, this is no longer about work life balance, but work life integration.

Some companies have excelled in promoting equality by cascading male allyship as a concept and driving force behind empowering women in the workplace. Much like a compliance program where compliance ambassadors in different business units act as catalysts to champion an ethical and compliant corporate culture, if we wish to cultivate a corporate environment that genuinely thrives on equality, inclusion and diversity, then everyone has got to roll their sleeves and get on board. 

There are many lessons in change management and effectively influencing business leaders during the course of driving a holistic compliance program which we could leverage and use in the course of navigating a company's journey on inclusion and diversity. 

I hope this short article gives you some food for thought in getting conversations started within. And may we truly make this world equal for us all. 

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