On 7th March 2014, senior business representatives met at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce to hold the launch event of “Talent Pool Asia - Gender Diversity as Success Factor for German and Asian Enterprises”.
We hear a lot about 'gender diversity' nowadays, but just how important is it? Promoting and ensuring gender diversity - part of greater efforts to build fairer and more equal workplaces - mean enterprises position themselves at the forefront in the global competition for the best talent. In Asian countries the traditional and prevailing role of women - as mothers and bound to the household - has all too often hindered career aspiration, advancement and achievement.
Nevertheless, change is a foot - there are growing numbers of inspiring female role models appointed to executive boards and operating at senior levels, who have successfully managed to combine career and family, or have challenged social norms and opted for a career driven life. Although this change is still embryonic in many countries and regions in Asia, businesses - both in Asia-Pacific and Germany - would do well to prepare for this change and develop strategies to recruit, nurture and harness the potential of female talent.
With German companies and organizations having strategic Asian interests and markets increasingly characterized by their growing dependence on “Talent Pool Asia”, these companies and organizations are at an advantage to dispense gender diversity best practice, not least because pushing for gender diversity means enhancing and advancing business interests but creating stronger, more cohesive workplaces.
How can gender diversity improve leadership and make companies more attractive to women in Asia? The OAV is tackling this question, and has already provided a platform for information and experience exchange, views and ideas on gender diversity. With our inaugural event held in Hamburg on 7th March 2014, issues such as quotas for women on executive boards, mixed leadership, and how German enterprises can support female employees in the Asia-Pacific region were discussed.
During the event, lively and candid discussions were held between high ranking male and female executives from Germany and various Asian countries - proof of how much the workplace can benefit from such exchange! For example, many challenges persist in Asia for females just as they still do to varying degrees for their counterparts in Europe. High drop-out rates, and the so-called 'glass ceiling' were identified in the discussions as well as issues such as safety and equality of women in the workforce which have also risen to the agenda of media, HR departments and boards.
The OAV is an association of companies which have direct and diverse experiences of gender diversity, and we plan follow up events so please watch this space!