Cyberview pushes for women’s equity in tech this IWD 2023
By Digital News Asia March 15, 2023
- Women in Malaysia make up 28.2% of top 100 public listed boards
- Women in boardrooms brings about diversity and richness in thinking
Global tech hub developer Cyberview continues its push for the tech sector to embrace equity, in line with this year's International Women's Day theme, by hosting a panel of women tech leaders sharing their thoughts across generations at RekaScape on March 8.
In her opening remarks, Shafinaz Salim, head of Technology Hub Division at Cyberview, noted that the tech sector has a global equity issue when it comes to women, particularly in representations in senior positions.
She quoted statistics from 30% Club, one of Cyberview’s ESG partners, stating that women in Malaysia made up only 28.2% of the top 100 public listed boards in Malaysia.
Commenting on this, Yasmin Mahmood, Skymind chairman, said Malaysia had come a long way since the 30% boardroom target was set in 2013. "Equity means we are allowed to do what we want to do, to the best of our ability, to be given a chance and acknowledge the differences we are having, to be embraced for the challenges as a woman."
Nura Samsuddin, Supagene Asia co-founder seconded this as she said “Embracing equity is embracing the differences. You will have the aim to go forward, but understanding your differences and getting the support as well as needs to help you to move towards the direction regardless of where your starting point is," she said.
When asked if all-women boards were a step forward, Yasmin said corporations having a great mixture of men and women on their boards is not about their gender but about diversity and richness of thinking.
"It is not about championing women as if we want to become Amazons. It is because we want diversity and equity," she added.
Lilyana Abdul Latif, BETA Foundation CEO and co-founder supported this, adding that the corporate world needed equitable rules in measuring performance.
"As a woman leader, we always think about diversifying the team. We would insist on having males in the team, but it would never be the same the other way round. Also, the measures of work performance in the corporate world according to gender must be equitable and not equal, because women have more responsibilities beyond the job," she said.
Nura agreed, adding that women in the corporate world were always made to decide between life, work, and family. "As a woman, we have many roles to play. I always ask my employees to prioritise two things - family and health. Remember, you can never simultaneously be the best corporate person, mum, or wife," she added.
This thought was also voiced by Durioo+ head of Operations and Experience Nuown Zainal, who said that there were companies who discriminated against mothers who stopped working for a few years and wished to return to the workforce.
"There's no specific formula to achieve work-life balance. We can do our best when playing different roles, but when we need a break, we need to be able to stop and take a break," she added.
When asked what their advice to women in tech was today, Nuown said it was essential to develop themselves to be indispensable and support other women in the sector. Meanwhile, Lilyana said it was okay to say women were emotional because that is what is brought in terms of diversity.
Meanwhile, Nura believes that women in the workforce need to stop being shy and apologetic for being different. "You need to focus on your strength and embrace your weakness. Then, move towards your goals without holding back."
The final piece of advice was from Yasmin, an ex-MDEC CEO, who said, "Don't be too hard on yourself. Just do the best you can. Just be the best version of you," she said.
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