Embracing gender differences is the way to succeed

“Lack of recognition of basic differences men and women have like career cycles, communication styles, or attitudes to power is enough to eliminate one gender and prefer the other” notes Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, CEO of 20-first, one of the world’s leading gender consulting firms, and author of Seven Steps to Leading a Gender-Balanced Business. The author of the article published in the Harvard Business Review argues that “denying the existence of differences between men and women was a useful phase to go through, but now that the reality of gender has changed, so should our approach”. To read the full article click here.

Women in Media Uniting to Bridge the Confidence Gap

While the issue of women in tech is widely discussed, another area, which would not patently be the topic for the gender discussion, is women in media. The Australian Business Review uncovers the role of women in the media market and highlights an important factor – confidence factor – determining gender balance in media, which can, actually, be defining women’s advancement in any area women are engaged in. Read the full article here.

Saudi Prince Pledges $32 Billion to Good Causes, With Women’s Rights a Focus


A good move for Saudi Arabia, which is known to be widely criticized for its women inequality. Looking forward to read the strategy to learn more on the planned actions to improve gender equality in the country. A full article can be accessed through the following link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-prince-pledges-32-billion-to-charity-with-womens-rights-a-key-focus-1435762281


Women’s leadership: How to close the gender gap in Asia

Asian Development Bank had an interview with Dr. Astrid Tuminez to discuss the issue of women’s leadership in Asia and the ways to improve the advancement of women in high-levels of management. Read the interview here.

WPLA marks International Women’s Day 2015

This year to mark the International Women’s Day, WPLA in collaboration with the LKYSPP Bridging Gender and Policy Group partnered with the leading tech companies to host a panel discussion. The event was widely attended by the students, staff and members of the public.

Photo Courtesy of Bridging GAP Group

The panel discussion focused on “Women Leaders in Technology: Why We Do What We Do?” and featured a panel of four remarkable women leaders from such tech companies as Microsoft, HP, Twitter and ConneXionsAsia.

  • Amelia Agrawal, Regional Director of OEM Marketing, Microsoft
  • Elizabeth Hernandez, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Asia Pacific & Japan, HP
  • Frederique Covington, International Marketing Director, Twitter
  • Rosaline Chow Koo, Founder and CEO, ConneXionsAsia

Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez was the moderator of the discussion.

The panelists shared their unique personal stories of how they achieved career success in the technology sector and the challenges they encountered along the way, whether the work-life balance is a myth, and how they contributed to the success of their companies.

One of the takeaways of the event relates to the risk women associate with the career in tech: “Are women less risk-taking, therefore less attracted to high-stakes tech industry? There is a steep learning curve that requires some confidence to take, not just in tech. Mentors need to convey to girls that it’s important to take risks.”


Photo Courtesy of Bridging GAP Group


15 Women That Are Changing The World in 2015

Students take part during the “One Billion Rising” dance campaign at all-girls school St Scholastica college in Manila

Photo Courtesy of World Economic Forum


In anticipation of International Women’s Day 2015 World Economic Forum shares the stories of 15 women changing the world in 2015. Read on the stories of these remarkable bright women to get inspired to work harder towards achieving your goals and creating gender-inclusive environment: https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/03/15-women-changing-the-world-in-2015/?utm_content=buffer5c0ba&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer. 




Women Leadership in the Non-Profit Sector Case Study Series: Soe Tjen Marching

Can a Chinese Minority Become a Leader? 

When asked about her rise as a leader, Soe is not quite sure how to answer the question. In her own words, she just followed her heart. However, she acknowledges that an important part of the process has been her strive to continuously work, write, and read to broaden her perspectives and think more critically. This process has led her to gain credibility in the non-profit sector, to establish an organization that promotes pluralism in the Indonesian society, and to become one of the most prominent female leaders in her country.

For Soe, becoming a leader requires fighting one’s own cowardice. She explains that most of the time, working in the non-profit area means fighting and arguing with yourself, especially on how far do you have to go and how effective will your work be. She acknowledges that at times there are compromises. Her opinions have been controversial and have made her the target of harsh criticism from religious fundamentalists groups.  These have led her to receive threats by religious fundamentalist groups. Though she is not really worried about her own safety, she is deeply concerned for the safety of those close to her,  family and friends.

Women’s Pathways to Leadership in the Nonprofit Sector

Soe Tjen Marching was born into a Chinese-minority family in Indonesia. Her father was involved in a left-wing newspaper during the Soeharto regime. His work made him the perfect target; he was imprisoned and tortured as a result of his political opinions and views. This trauma left deep marks in Soe and the rest of her family. Her mother even advised her and her siblings to stay away from politics. Not only did Soe decide to become an activist, she also found her father’s criticism against the regime, a profound influence to become a strong woman and eventually a leader. However, her decision created severe tensions in her family. Just before founding BHINNEKA, her mother was extremely worried and Soe didn’t feel her support. However, Soe never gave up her idea to make a meaningful contribution in her home country: Indonesia.

Women as Nonprofit Leaders

As a woman, many people look at her and say “How could she do that?” or even “How dare she do that?” Her Chinese Indonesian heritage, has made her an easy target of discrimination in Indonesia and often times she has been accused of being anti-nationalistic for her  severe criticism to the government and its policies. Despite these challenges, Soe feels a deep sense of commitment towards the people of Indonesia. In her definition,  being nationalistic means loyalty to the people and their rights. In her own words, there is no special recipe for women to overcome the barriers that they face in non-profit leadership and the only way to success is by following your heart.

Soe Tjen’s story is a remarkable example of why women leaders choose the non-profit sector to make a difference. Though it is not necessarily the easiest path, it is a space where they can pursue their genuine interests to spark a greater social good.

About Soe Tjen Marching

soe Tjen marching

Soe Tjen Marching is a Chinese-Indonesian writer, academic, composer, and leading activist in Indonesia. As a musician, her compositions have been played in several countries, including Japan, New Zealand and Indonesia. After finishing her undergraduate degree in Petra University Surabaya, Soe pursued a masters degree in New Zealand. She later received a doctorate degree from Monash University.

As a writer, Soe is the author of several publications and the recipient of many creative writing awards. Her book The Discrepancy Between the Public and the Private Selves of Indonesian Women was published by The Edwin Mellen Press in 2007.

Despite her success as a composer and writer, Soe remains a leading activist in her home country. In 2009, she founded BHINNEKA Magazine, a publication with the goal of promoting pluralism and gender, politics and religion. In her view, religious freedom in Indonesia was, and still is, at peril due to intolerance and violence under the flag of religion.


The Women Leadership in Non-Profit Case Study Series is led by the Women’s Pathways to Leadership in Asia (WPLA) and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. “Women Leadership in Nonprofit Case Study: Soe Tjen Marching” authored by Hendri Uulius Wijaya, a graduate student of the Lee Kuan Yew  School of Public Policy. 

Leadership Lessons From WPLA Founder Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez

Tanvi Guatman’s interview with WPLA Founder, Astrid S. Tuminez, offers valuable lessons on leadership, career, and women as agents of change.

Tuminez offers 3 key lessons she’s learned along her career that can benefit women as they navigate the ups and downs of their careers:

1.       Brands you associate with provide you with power through your career trajectory so choose carefully.

2.       Your strengths and passion should define your career. It defines your competitive advantage

3.       Adapt to cultural demands of being a woman but remain true to who you are. EQ (emotional quotient) is crucial in leading in circumstances where women are expected to be submissive.

To access the 30 minute podcast, click on the link below:

http://wowfactor.asia/podcast-with-astrid-s-tuminez/ (Runtime: 30 minutes)

Slow Progress in Asian Executive Boards

The recently released “Diversity Scorecard 2012: Measuring Board Composition in Asia Pacific” reveals that progress in improving diversity in executive boards across Asia’s leading companies has been slow. Most countries’ boards now have a slightly higher percentage of female directors, with female directors accounting for 16.7 percent, up from 11.2 percent in 2010.

Click on the link to read the full report.

Source: Korn Ferry Institute.