Opinion: Five steps to boost gender equality in Asia PR

Former Walmart and Procter & Gamble comms exec highlights how the industry can boost the role of women ahead of the Break the Ceiling, Touch the Sky summit in Singapore

Anthony Rose, chairman and CEO of House of Rose Professional
Anthony Rose, chairman and CEO of House of Rose Professional

A lot is being said and written about the role of women and the advance of women in every sphere of business, society and politics. Women are breaking the glass ceiling everywhere we look.

As public relations and marketing professionals we have a unique opportunity to help our organizations leverage the full value of gender diversity. Here are five simple things we all can do to drive Return on Investment (ROI) and Return on Reputation (ROR) for our organizations and build stronger reputations.

1) Get involved in gender equality in your workplace: Understand the policies, understand the interventions your company is leading, see if there is a role you can play. It doesn't matter if you are male or female, it shouldn’t matter. What should matter is that you believe that inclusive leadership and gender equality brings better employee satisfaction, better talent retention, better business results and ultimately a better corporate reputation.

2) Be fair and prinicpled in decision making: Have you ever inquired about the gender pay gap in your organization? As a leader are you willing to dig below the surface get the facts and create a glide path that leads to sustainable gender pay equality? Or are you fine to deliver "savings" by turning a blind eye to gender pay inequalities within your direct span of influence?

3) Be a mentor: It is only in the last decade that women have access to senior female mentors. The need for women to help women is felt more today than ever before. That doesn't mean that if you are a male mentor, you cannot help. Quite the contrary. Offer help. You might be surprised how many women would actually take you up on your offer. And if you are a woman who has reached the top, remember how challenging it was for you to get there. Make it easier for those who follow through your guidance and mentoring.

4) Invest in inclusive leadership: Make it a point to send women employees and male employees where relevant (and affordable) to relevant external forums on success and leadership where they can learn best practices from the experts, interact with peers and enhance their skills. The exposure will not only make them better professionals, it will enhance their appreciation of your Company. As an employee actively seek out these opportunities and bring them to the notice of your manager. Your Manager would likely be willing to support your initiative
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5) Volunteer your time: Teach a child, sponsor a student through school. If you can't give financially, give of your time. Check first with your company on the causes they are supporting and if you believe in one of those causes strongly, align your efforts with that. Impact gets bigger with scale.

The challenges are endless but so are the opportunities to create positive change. On September 29, we will host our annual summit, Break the Ceiling, Touch the Sky – the success summit for women (and men who support gender diversity) in Singapore. More than 40 top business leaders abd over 400 participants from the world’s best companies including PepsiCo, FleishmanHillard, Coca-Cola, Shell, Accenture, Diageo, Unilever and P&G, will learn together and define action plans that will touch the lives of thousands of women across the region. You can join the action at www.houseofroseprofessional.com

- Anthony A Rose is the Chairman and CEO of House of Rose Professional, a business consultancy for PR and publishing. He previously held senior communications positions at Walmart and Procter & Gamble in Asia.

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