International Women's Day Special: Women in Communications

International Women's Day Special: Women in Communications

This International Women’s Day, we asked women in communications from across sectors to tell us what this year's theme, #ChooseToChallenge mean to them and active steps taken by their organisation towards gender equality.

Emily PoonEmily Poon, President, Public Relations and Influence, Ogilvy Asia
Every challenge brings opportunities. For me, #ChooseToChallenge is both about taking action and having a growth mindset. Years ago, I was offered a promotion when I was pregnant with my first child, and my immediate thought was “But I am pregnant!”. My boss at that time said, “So?” That led to me taking on the job, and also inspired me to create a safe space for others to challenge what they think they are capable of and realise their full potential.

Diversity is not a one-off ‘initiative’ but a critical ingredient of our business strategy. At Ogilvy, we are committed to fostering an open, equitable environment where everyone can thrive and to increase female representation at the global and regional leadership levels. As part of #HerOgilvy initiatives in Singapore, we have been holding ongoing conversations to address perspectives and issues important to the cultural zeitgeist, e.g. a Pride panel to discuss LGBTQ affairs in Singapore and Women’s Day discussions. We also have a diverse hiring undertaking for each group of stakeholders - recruitment firm partners, hiring managers and members of senior leadership teams - to ensure diversity in our hiring practices.

Tammy TohTammy Toh, Director Group Marketing & Communications, Astro
To be more proactive in creating an equal, more sustainable and inclusive world and to help the next generation of young women leaders lend their voice to social causes. To champion equality and diversity for decisions made in the workplace. I hope this inspires and gives more of us the courage to rise up and #ChooseToChallenge inequalities across the board - from glass ceilings to stereotypes - within our own circles and beyond.

At Astro, we continue to prioritise hiring ‘the best person for the job’ regardless of gender, religion and ethnicity. Women make up 50 per cent of our workforce, and notably, 42 per cent of our senior management are women.


Karin ZulkarnaenKarin Zulkarnaen, Chief Marketing Officer, Allianz Life Indonesia
I believe that stereotypes and bias will go away eventually through kindness and respect. With social media, there are too many haters voicing out our opinions without respecting differing opinions, looks, abilities or anything. Those little comments may cause unnecessary distress, conflicts and create larger ripple of hate. We must change that. When others fail to see the beauty in differences - have the courage to communicate those points. So, I #ChooseToChallenge hate, and go for love. Always look at differences in a positive light. Kindness always wins.

Allianz Indonesia ensures no salary gap between males and females in the same roles with the same experience. We also offer flexible work hours: accommodate those with families, not just mothers to support their families. We are now planning to make work from home part of our flexible work arrangement after the pandemic is over. Last year we launched four months maternity leave for female employees, to be able to nurse their babies longer. We even went beyond our employees and have reached out to communities and giving financial literacy and training for women as in Indonesia we understand that women mostly handle family finances. 

Cathy YangCathy Yang, First Vice President & Group Head, Corporate Communications, PLDT
The pandemic has given everyone a chance to address long-standing inequalities, rebuilding a resilient world, with women at the heart of the recovery. There are no behaviours that could be regarded as strictly for males that ambitious female entrepreneurs and professionals, either do not have, or won’t learn in a competitive environment. My career journey has taken me to the male-dominated world of tech, media and telco, at a time of unprecedented demand for digital connectivity. I am most pleased to see that the first leaders who welcomed me to the ranks of senior management are mostly women and I #ChooseToChallenge leaders out there to follow suit and continue breaking gender stereotypes and prejudices.

PLDT and Smart give equal opportunity to all, aspiring for a work environment characterised by openness, trust and respect, and this is reflected in our nondiscrimination policy in hiring. Employees are not chosen on the basis of gender, age, or if they belong to a particular sector, but according to the competencies and skills required by the job. There is only one salary structure regardless of gender. We follow the principles of pay for the person (on the basis of competencies and credentials), pay for the position, and pay for performance.

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