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Why Gender Diversity and Inclusion Matter

Sue Pulendran

Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with strong female leaders in their own right. Despite my positive workplace experiences, I believe that the full potential of women is still not being utilised. It is our imperative as a workforce to help foster diverse and inclusive teams for the betterment of our organisations and the society as a whole.

While gender inequality remains a pressing moral and social issue, it is also increasingly a critical economic challenge — women account for half the world’s working-age population. If their economic potential remains untapped, there could be adverse effects to the global economy. A report by McKinsey Global Institute found that advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth by 2025.

In addition, a survey by the Peterson Institute for International Economics of about 22,000 firms from 91 countries found that having women at the C-Suite level significantly increases net margins. The report also states that a profitable firm, where 30 per cent of leaders are women, could expect to add more than one percentage point to its net margin compared with an otherwise similar firm with no female leaders.

Closing the gender gap and realising the full potential of women in the workforce will not only have an impact on growth in the economy, but also help us drive improvements in society and its communities. Aside from closing the gender gap, diversity is also crucial many ways — broadening our perspectives, discovering new ways of thinking and working together, as well as enhancing our ability to solve problems with a tapestry of insights.

Having worked in Singapore for the past seven years, a city that is the bastion for multiculturalism, I have seen that an inclusive workplace that embraces cultural and gender diversity is vital for businesses to remain competitive and thrive on an international scale. Furthermore, it is also necessary for shaping innovation in the workplace.

This International Women's Day, I am proud to say I am part of an organisation which respects and empowers women. One of the things I love about NetApp is that we have women leaders across critical functions in the business. We also have a heart and soul dedicated to building a passion and pipeline for gender balance in STEM.

Ultimately, as a mother, wife and daughter, improving parity between men and women is less about making a statement in achieving my full economic potential than it is about the future I am attempting to carve for my kids — one where women are appreciated and acknowledged for their talent, tact and wit, no matter where they go.

Going forward, I would love to see more women leaders take centre stage globally. Where gender diversity and inclusion is the norm, and where voices are heard in every organisation. To achieve this, I believe everyone should work together to help build diverse teams for a better future. In the same vein, there is an old  Proverb that states: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” With that note, let’s go onwards together!

Sue Pulendran

Dr. Sue Pulendran is the Head of Marketing and Communications, Asia Pacific at NetApp. Her career has spanned a number of global organizations in various roles including marketing, strategy, operations. Sue’s diverse background has also been one of an academic, a strategy consultant, a writer, an operations leader, and a marketer. Prior to joining NetApp in 2018, Sue had a 12-year career with IBM holding various leadership roles in Australia, across Asia Pacific, and covering the Growth Markets (including Latin America and the Middle East). Most recently, Sue was the Chief Operating Officer of IBM’s Digital Business Group in Asia Pacific where she led the ongoing business operations and procedures of IBM’s Digital business in the region. Sue’s passion for Strategy and Marketing, started at Gartner Consulting and Deloitte Strategy Consulting where she led the Market and Business Strategy consulting practices building go to market strategies for technology players. One of the highlights in her consulting career was in helping clients in technology gain share and success through new go to market approaches across Asia Pacific. Sue earned her PhD in Strategy & Marketing from the Melbourne Business School. She is the author of a textbook on Consumer Behavior and has widely published research in academic journals including the Academy of Marketing Science.

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