This International Women’s Day, we renew our commitment to #breakthebias as we continue on our diversity and inclusivity journey. Here, we explore some of the ways we can effect positive change for women in our organisation.
Singapore has seen the labour force participation rate (LFPR) for women increase steadily over the years. In 2021, it recorded a LFPR of 64.2 per cent compared to 57.7 per cent a decade ago. It is a promising sign, with statistics showing that a gender-diverse workforce offers wider perspectives, higher performance, and ultimately greater economic benefits, particularly when women are empowered.
At Singapore Land Group (SingLand), where female representation on our Board is over 20 per cent, we recognise that we need a diverse talent pool to impact and serve our communities and stakeholders effectively. With women making up 50 per cent of our workforce, ensuring that men and women are equally set up for success in our organisation is vitally important.
“It is crucial for us to cultivate an environment that encourages open conversations.”
– Welch Er, Head of Human Resources
BREAKING THE BIAS
According to Welch Er, Head of Human Resources, one of the keys to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is to first address unconscious bias. “Discrimination, whether it’s against someone of another gender, race or background, happens mostly because of a lack of awareness. In this respect, education and training are powerful tools in diminishing unconscious bias. It is also crucial for us to cultivate an environment that encourages open conversations,” says Ms Er. “As awareness continues to increase, we can collectively build and strengthen a culture that is inclusive and provides equal growth opportunities for all.”
SingLand, who is a supporter of the Champion of Change Pledge launched by the Women’s Leadership Initiative under ULI Singapore, has also taken other steps towards building a diverse and inclusive workplace. These include having gender-neutral hiring processes and offering family-friendly working arrangements — SingLand is an adopter of the Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements. The latter in particular goes a long way in creating a conducive environment for female employees to thrive, especially with women traditionally being the primary caregivers in their families.
THE RIGHT FRAME OF MIND
To be sure, building a diverse and inclusive workplace requires effort from everyone, including women themselves. Teo Hwee Ping, Head of Legal says, “While the male voice is powerful in championing women’s rights and equality, it is also important for women to be confident in what they can offer. Women tend to question and doubt themselves a lot more than men, even when they are fully capable of achieving great work. In light of this, how we mentor and encourage our female colleagues at work is important.”
“While the male voice is powerful in championing women’s rights and equality, it is also important for women to be confident in what they can offer.”
– Teo Hwee Ping, Head of Legal
On the topic of mentorship, Ms Er adds that more women should serve as role models and share their success stories, “It makes a difference when women hear of others like themselves who have managed to carve out meaningful careers with the support of those around them. As these voices start to grow, we can also begin to normalise success for women both at work and in their families.”
While steps have been taken in the right direction, we recognise that the journey towards greater diversity and inclusivity is an ongoing one. Similarly, our commitment to supporting women in the workplace is also an enduring one, fuelled by our vision of building thriving communities, starting with our own.