6 women crushing gender barriers in senior roles

6 women crushing gender barriers

Women experience an uneven playing field, research and statistics demonstrate gender barriers time and time again.

Looking at the corporate pipeline, gender inequality starts from the very first promotion.

According to a recent report in America titled Women in the Workplace 2017 by McKinsey and Leanin.org, fewer women than men are hired at the entry level, despite women being 57% of recent college graduates.

At every subsequent step, the representation of women further declines, and women of colour face an even steeper drop-off at senior levels.

This report is based on data from 22 companies, 12 million employees, and a survey of more than 70,000 employees.

But there are some women I have had the pleasure of meeting, who are crushing gender barriers and succeeding despite the uphill battle.

Here are 5 successful women I’m shining the spotlight on, who are doing incredible things across the Asia Pacific region:


1. Sarita Singh

Director SMB, South East Asia at FACEBOOK

“Rising tides lift all boats”

Sarita Singh is the Director for Small and Medium Business (SMB) for Southeast Asia at Facebook, where she leads the teams responsible for the SMB advertising business including sales, marketing, service and partnerships for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar. Prior to Facebook, Sarita spent several years at Google, most recently as the Head of Retail Channel Sales & Operations for Google’s hardware business in Asia Pacific. Sarita has previously worked at salesforce, Oracle and Hewlett Packard in various sales, marketing and operations roles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from RMIT University and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Sarita is a strong believer in paying forward the support she’s received throughout her career, to help others behind you.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Sarita in 2017 and I am extremely excited to see where Sarita goes next in her career, there’s no doubt she’s got a bright future ahead of her!


2. Elizabeth Broderick

UN Special Rapporteur at Discrimination Against Women, Principal at Elizabeth Broderick & Co.

“If we do not actively and intentionally include women, the system will unintentionally exclude them.”

Elizabeth, who’s recently been appointed UN Special Rapporteur – Discrimination Against Women, has been a mentor and close friend of mine for over a decade now. She’s the one who gave me the push to do something about gender barriers in the corporate world, hence why I founded emberin!

Elizabeth has brought together captains of industry, governments and Defence Force chiefs to address gender inequality in Australia and beyond.

As Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015), Elizabeth worked tirelessly to break down structural and social barriers.

A key advocate for Australia’s paid parental leave scheme, Elizabeth influenced changes to regulations to increase the numbers of women at decision-making level.

She also established and convenes the globally recognised ‘Male Champions of Change’. Her review into the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force led to sweeping cultural reforms. In 2016 Elizabeth was Senior Adviser to the Australian Federal Police Commissioner.

A truly inspiring woman, Liz believes that every one of us has a responsibility to step and take action to enable more women to have an empowered life.


3. Trasy Lou Walsh

General Manager at UBER

As the first female General Manager at Uber, and the first to go through a pregnancy whilst working at the Macau office, Trasy is no doubt smashing gender barriers and paving the way for other females to take on both parenthood and a successful career.

Trasy has over 10 years of operations and marketing experience in the gaming and hospitality industry.

At Uber, she is heavily invested in creating a point to point transportation option for the citizens in Macau. Trasy holds a MBA from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Trasy is a proud women in tech who actively advocates for parents and gender equality in the workplace, and is restless in providing mentorship to women who wishes to excel through their career. And of course, a proud mother of a 1 year old daughter.

Trasy believes in work-life balance and she achieves this by setting ‘scared time’ in her diary – time where you should not be disturbed – and she encourages her team to do the same.

Trasy has done some inspiring and truly brave things in her career so far, and I’m excited to see what’s next for her!


4. Kelly Ferguson

Chief Information Officer at ORIGIN

I’ve known Kelly for a number of years now, she’s a true feminine leader in a very male dominated industry.

In her role, Kelly is responsible for leading the Applications and Solutions teams across 13 lines of business, including Energy Markets, Integrated Gas and Corporate functions. Kelly and her team manage a portfolio of approximately 1500 applications and are committed to delivering stable and agile digital solutions to Origin customers.

Kelly is a passionate technologist, with over 20 years of international experience in technology, digital media, data and healthcare businesses. Kelly has also held executive IT positions with Mi9 (Ninemsn), Philips Electronics and Microsoft.

Kelly has experienced numerous instances of being mistaken for the receptionist or secretary, and has seen men almost fall of their chairs when she takes the white board pen and begins drawing technical diagrams.

Despite often being the only woman in the room, or entire floor, Kelly’s not afraid to let her feminine personality and leadership style shine through!


5. Ginita Taylor

Head of Sales and Partner Enablement & Regional Governance, CISCO Asia Pacific and Japan

Ginita is truly passionate about advancing women already working in the technology industry, and about attracting more females into the field.

Based in Sydney, Ginita heads up Sales and Partner Enablement & Regional Governance for Cisco, Asia Pacific and Japan. She has been the APJ lead for Cisco’s Connected Women’s group since August 2016 and recently took on the role as Global Co-Lead for Connected Women.

Beginning her career in hospitality and corporate meeting management, Ginita has been working with the IT sector since 1997. Having spent time living in Shanghai and Hong Kong working in Business Operations, her role quickly expanded into Strategy and Planning for Asia Pacific and Greater China. Prior to her current role, Ginita was the Planning Lead for Cisco APJ.

An advocate for self-managing to ensure balance, Ginita’s approach to her day job, and the many aspects of life we all try to juggle, is one of candor and practicalities.

Ginita is a big believer in being brave and courageous, and that people will respect you more for giving something a go rather than not trying.


6. Richa Kar

Founder of ZIVAME

Richa is a true disrupter of the status quo, quitting the corporate world in India to controversially start selling lingerie online.

Richa is the founder and former CEO of Zivame.com, India’s largest online lingerie company. Zivame is one of the most loved women’s brand owing to its differentiated user experience, evocative branding and depth of merchandise. She built and scaled the company in the last 6 years as the CEO from ground up raising 48 million USD through 3 rounds of funding from global venture capital investors. Zivame pioneered online shopping of intimate wear and was one of the first fashion e commerce companies to provide an omni channel experience to its 1 million strong user base by opening up 15 offline experience stores across India.

After this successful tech start-up, I can’t wait to see what Richa does next!


These amazing women are just a few who are smashing gender barriers in the corporate world, and succeeding despite the uphill battle they continue to face.


To find out more about how to build and nurture the female talent pipeline in your organisation, get in touch with us today.

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