Staff Writer
Jun 26, 2019

What is equality? Four company leaders answer.

WLC interviews: Equality is more about numbers, it is also about building a long-lasting culture

What is equality? Four company leaders answer.

We’ve all heard of it. We all know it. Equality drives creativity, fosters empathy and helps build employee and customer loyalty. If you need the statistic to prove it: of those who say that their company provides equal opportunities, 65% say they are proud to work for their company, according to a Salesforce report. Meanwhile, 58% of millennial consumers say that companies investing in or giving back to their community has an impact on their loyalty to a company.

But what does equality really mean? What can companies do to advance equality in the workplace? What role does data analytics play in helping the marketing and advertising industry move towards inclusivity?

To answer the above and more, Campaign partnered with Salesforce to produce a four-part video series during Women Leading Change 2019.

For Cecily Ng, Area VP, enterprise sales, Asia at Salesforce, equality means “everyone has access to the same rights, services and opportunities…regardless of who they are”.

At Salesforce, equality is anchored by four pillars: equal pay, equal access to education, equal career opportunities, equal rights. And it’s not just all talk. In the past four years, the company has spent US$10 million to fix “inexplainable differences in pay”. The organisation also sponsors Pink Dot, a LGBTI+ event in Singapore, and partners with Halogen Foundation for its annual BizAcademy programme.

Ng, who’s involved with the programme, says, “I’m proud of working for company that works for its stakeholders, not just shareholders”

CMOs play an important role in workplace equality. Marketers have the power – and responsibility - for shaping how women are portrayed in ads.

“We can play such a large role in changing perceptions…things like, what strength looks like, what beauty looks like in creative, by removing stereotypes,” says Wendy Walker, senior director, marketing APAC at Salesforce.  “[Salesforce] has developed some principles around inclusive marketing, and mandated all marketers are trained [in them].”

Leigh Terry, CEO of IPG Mediabrands APAC, believes in the power of the signature. “It focuses the mind, and therefore when I signed the mandate for change…it wasn’t just on behalf of media brands, it was also on behalf of me, as the CEO.”

Terry is also an important voice to have in the conversation about gender equality – after all, male leaders have as much responsibility as their female counterparts in ensuring that a company is as inclusive as possible.

30% of IPG Mediabrands APAC's senior leadership team are female. How was that achieved?  “I was lucky to inherit some female talents, but have since been able to add to that by going to market and finding the right people,” he says.

But what happens when an industry is traditionally dominated by men?

Angelyn Varkey, marketing director, Asia, Aon, says that the education process need to start early – at school. “In the last few years, there is a lot more emphasis on equality, especially gender equality, given that it [the insurance industry] is a traditionally male-dominated industry.”

She also emphases that equality needs to become part of the culture. “If it is an initiative, it means there is an end date. If it is culture, that means it’s ongoing” 


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