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


How important are diversity and inclusion to our society?

How important are diversity and inclusion to our society?

TuminezMany talk about incorporating Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) programs into their organisations, but only few implement it for its value.  Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez in an interview with the Daily FT of Sri Lanka  shared her thoughts in this regard and how issues within that can be addressed from a personal, institutional, and policy level.

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam

Q: What are your views on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and why are they important?
A: It is interesting that today when you look at corporations in the Asia Pacific, practically everyone has a D&I program. If you ask corporate executives, the usual answer would be that it is about competition in human talent. So corporations have to survive and thrive and if they don’t have the human talent, then their competitors will blow them out of the waters. It is very much about human talent, who has the cutting edge, who understands the market better, who has the best talent and who can sell.
However, in addition to that, I always argue that it is also a question of values. D&I are important values in a sense that if you want a fairer, equitable and a more just society, it is imperative to look at this area. It is about appreciating all of the people and human capital, gender, ethnicity, points of view, perspective, sexual orientation and other aspects. And inclusion means that you can take that pool of diverse human talent, develop and deploy it to its fullest potential in an organisation or country.

Q: Are more leaders adding D&I into their agenda?
A: In the corporate sector, absolutely. There is no question about that, and then again it is about that search for competitive edge. The fastest uptake in this regard is in the corporate world because everyone understands that you must compete for human talent and the consumers are also 50% or more women. So you need to find a way to connect to that market. In terms of governance as well people are realising that the voice of women is important because they bring a different perspective to the table. That’s the private sector.
When it comes to the public sector, Asia has done well in terms of very visible women leaders as heads of state. Sri Lanka had its first female prime minister and president quite early. The Philippines had two heads of state who are women, so did Pakistan, India, and now South Korea. In that sense, Asia has had female leaders at very high and visible levels. There is diversity in gender. But going down that is not the case in the public sector. There is still a long way to go.
Some leaders have used quotas as a tool in the public sector. In some areas that has worked but it is also noted that these are used to put women in as tokens, rather than giving them real decision making authority. So the bottom line is that there is progress in terms of leaders understanding diversity and inclusion, particularly in the private sector but we still have a long way to go to bring it across the board for leaders to really walk the talk.

“There is progress in terms of leaders understanding diversity and inclusion, particularly in the private sector but we still have a long way to go to bring it across the board for leaders to really walk the talk. Right now D&I is sort of a trend, a fad. Everybody has a program. However, end of the day what gets measured is what gets done
At the end of the day we don’t have to be perfect. We should learn to live with imperfections. There will be times where we do great things, and there will be times where we feel it’s too much. We should not be hard on ourselves. It is a part of our journey”
– Microsoft Corporation Regional Director Legal and Corporate Affairs Southeast Asia Dr. Astrid S. Tuminez

Q: What can be done in the public sector to achieve this?
A: The quota system is a good way of achieving this. Quotas can sometimes be controversial since people feel that it will be use to put in women who are not qualified. That is not necessarily the case. The World Bank has done a study that shows that women who are put in certain positions through quotas are not necessarily unqualified. This can help in the public sector since it is the fastest way to increase the representation of women and how you structure that is really important. The system can be there for few years to forever.
Another trend in the public sector is gender responsive budgeting. What that means is that for every budget that a government puts together, it must ask ‘what is the impact on males versus females?’ and ‘who does it favour more?’
In countries like the Philippines, it ranks fifth in the Global Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum out of 136 countries. So the Philippines to be at the fifth position is a huge and amazing achievement. One of the things that I learn from the Philippines Government is that for all of their agencies, 5% of the budget must be dedicated for gender equal measures in policies. When you think about that it is not very much, but it certainly is a great start.

Q: It is observed that many well-meaning diversity and inclusion fail because organisations behave defensively. What is your view on this?
A: Yes. Well-meaning diversity inclusion programs, what do we mean by that? Right now D&I is sort of a trend, a fad. Everybody has a program. However, at the end of the day what gets measured is what gets done. When you have a D&I program, do you actually change the practice within the corporate culture.
First is that in terms of hiring, do you actually measure leaders where you are hiring men all the time or do you have slates where there are female candidates? Second, do you have reasonable or maybe even generous maternity and paternity leave so that both men and women can mutually support each other at home and at the work place? If the family falls apart, the workplace will fall apart and women will exit. Third is, do you reward managers and leaders who hire, develop, and retain female talents?
To give an example of the company that I work for, which is Microsoft, in Thailand 55% of our managers are women. When you talk to the Country Head of Thailand, he will say that this is a central priority to have that kind of diversity. When leaders walk the talk, when they are graded for it and they are measured on their performance on D&I, the program become a meaningful thing. It doesn’t become an exercise that is for show only, or is a defensive thing where the corporate executive says that it is about meritocracy. You actually have to make it a value that people believe in and not just pay lip service to it.

Q: How can the two elements be added to the goals of an HR leader?
A: HR leaders in my opinion play quite an important role. Although before going to the HR leader you have to go to the CEO. No matter how hard HR leaders try to add diversity and inclusion, if the CEO or the people reporting to the CEO don’t value it, it is not going to work. If the leaders buy into it, what HR leaders can do is add D&I in all the performance management systems. In terms of leave they can support flexibility, which women will really welcome.
When I speak about this topic I usually say it’s not that we have malevolent people, it is often because people don’t think about it. Here is where HR comes in. They can further train women on negotiation, building confidence, mentorship and other similar areas. While these are all really good buzz words in corporates, what is really being done under each of these elements should be questioned. That is where you can grade if HR is doing the things that are advancing D&I or not.

Q: What can be done to bring more women into leadership roles?
A: I would point out three things for this. The first one is personal. I think the women herself has to take responsibility for her ambitions and what she wants to contribute to the society. The personal responsibility comes with choosing a support system within your family, which is where it begins.
Second is in terms of policy. There are two elements that I would emphasise. First is childcare that is dependable, reliable and of high quality. The best example for this is France. It has solved its problem by keeping women in the workforce while also encouraging women to have children. France has the highest fertility rate in Europe and this is primarily because the Government puts in place tremendous support for women in their childbearing years. They spend 2.7% of their GDP on outright cash payments for the mothers, and 1.6% of GDP on child care solutions.
The second area where policy can make a difference is in elder care. This is because in Asia, we are expected to take care of our elderly people. So childcare and eldercare where we can support and alleviate the pressure that women feel so they can be good mothers on one hand and great professionals on the other. That is that constant clash. So if we can give support on those two fronts, we will make a huge headway in encouraging women to make it all the way to the top of their professions.

Q: What is the situation in this regard in South Asia? 
A: It varies. A problem in quite a few Asian countries, especially in the poorer countries, is that they have mandated maternity leave but they are not able to implement or fund it. So there is a disconnect with what is on paper, what is legislated, and what actually gets done. Across the board for maternity and paternity leave, there is more work to be done in Asia.
Sri Lanka for example ranks 55 out of 136 countries in the Gender Gap index, but in terms of leadership it ranks poorly. In terms of senior officials, legislators, and senior managers, Sri Lanka’s index is 0.32.
Other thing for women is safety when going to work. In India it’s not a secret. Six of every 10 qualified women do not go to work, and part of that is due to safety. These are some very real problems and they need to be addressed.

Q: What are the challenges they face when rising to the top?
A: There is what is called the leaking pipeline. In most of the Asian Pacific countries the dropout rate from middle to senior management is as high as 70%. When we ask ourselves why that is happening, a lot of it goes back to the childbearing years where women really need support. In the conference hosted by SLASSCOM which I was addressing earlier today, a successful IT personality said that when she had her first and only child, her boss did not allow her to take three months’ leave. If that is the attitude, then it wears the women down. They are put in front of very tough choices. That is definitely a challenge we need to address.
If we don’t address those childbearing years and enhancing support, that dropout rate will continue and we won’t be able to leverage Asia’s human capital.

Q: What can they do as individuals to tackle this?
A: As individuals I think it is really important that successful women become mentors ourselves. In Singapore I belong to something called Women in Business. This includes organisations such as CISCO, Intel, Oracle and Microsoft. We commit ourselves for so many months of mentoring for a selected group of high potential women. I and most of my fellow colleagues have children and most of us have gone through the struggle of work-life balance and we share that.
The second is that as individuals we need to clarify what our choices are and why we do what we do. The big why in our lives need to be answered.
The third is the importance of cultivating very powerful will, since at the end, to sustain a career in leadership you are talking about a 20-30 year timeframe. Most women do not hit the sweet spot in leadership until their 50s.
Also, at the end of the day, we don’t have to be perfect. We should learn to live with imperfections. There will be times where we do great things, and there will be times where we feel it’s too much. We should not be hard on ourselves. It is a part of our journey.

Q: What is your message to the aspiring working women out there?
A: To the younger girls I would say that at this point in time we are in a globalised world. We are in a world with complex problems. So for them I would say that this is the world you are coming into. You have help in terms of technology, rising GDP, better education, so think about what you want to do and who your role models are going to be.
To the older generation I would say that it is important that we look to this younger generation and give them a better pathway so that the full human potential of girls and boys can be realised in the societies that we are creating.

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Women Leadership in the Non-Profit Sector Case Study Series: Julia Suryakusuma

Pioneering Democracy in Indonesia

Julia’s rise as a leader and influential thinker was during the repressive New Order and early reformation era. Motivated by her desire to change the status quo and defend the oppressed, it was the perfect time for her to express herself as a voice for gender equality. Her passion, enthusiasm and bravery was the basis of taking up the challenge to be an activist on gender, human rights and democracy. Julia’s credibility as a leader grew by constantly introducing gender issues in the public agenda, which proved effective in giving her leverage with the media.

Julia initially gained recognition as a writer between 1971 and 1972 when she won a number of writing competitions for high school students in Jakarta. Upon returning from doing a BSc in sociology at City University in London, in 1979 she worked at Yayasan Indonesia Sejahtera (YIS, Prosperous Indonesia Foundation), a local NGO dealing in community health and development. As someone who had spent her child- and teenagehood living and studying abroad, working at YIS – albeit only for one year – gave her the opportunity to get know her own culture, people and society.

Then in 1981, at the age of  27, Julia was asked to be  guest-editor for an issue of Prisma , then the leading  scholarly journal in the country. The title of the issue was “Women in Indonesia: Between Myth, Reality, and Emancipation”, which  launched Julia’s career as an expert on gender issues. In 1991, again she reprised the role of guest-editor, for an issue on sexuality entitled “Sex in the Web of Power”, opening up a field of study previously unknown in Indonesia.

In 1998, spurred by the economic crisis, which quickly developed into a political crisis, with a group of several women activists, Julia co-founded Suara Ibu Peduli  (SIP, the Voice of Concerned Mothers).  The now famous SIP Hotel Indonesia roundabout demonstration on February 23, critical of the New Order government, was the beginning of a widespread movement which ultimately forced Gen. (ret.) Soeharto to step down.

Feeling the need to educate the electorate who for 32 years under Soeharto’s New Order regime had been depoliticized, in 1999, at the beginning of the reformation era, Julia founded Yayasan API (the Indonesian Political Almanac Foundation) and became its executive director. She was assisted by her son, Aditya Priyawardhana, and endorsed by a coalition of thirteen Indonesian NGOs. API Foundation’s first project was to compile a directory of political parties, which had exploded from three state-controlled ones to the astounding number of almost 200.

Unexpectedly, the first support she received was from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), a national NGO. WALHI provided the initial seed-money and institutional support. This was followed by full funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Within a miraculous three and a half months, the 700-page political party directory was completed, just before the June elections in 1999 – Indonesia’s first democratic election. Due to the success of the directory, the next logical step was to compile a reference book on the parliament. In 2000, Julia led a team of researchers and compiled the Panduan Parlemen Indonesia (PPI, Indonesia’s Parliament Guide), taking a year to complete. It contained the profiles of 700 members of parliament, an explanation of the working mechanism of the MPR (Indonesian House of Representatives), and a history of the Indonesian parliament from 1918 to 2000.

The PPI was launched on June 26, 2001, around the time of the general assembly of the MPR, and 20 days after the death of her husband of 27 years, Ami Priyono. The PPI is probably still the most comprehensive guide on the parliament that exists, up to now. Unfortunately, due to personal reasons, Julia had to close down the API Foundation in November 2001, so was unable to continue with the important work it was doing.

Personal, Family and Cultural Backgrounds

Julia’s family hails from Priangan, West Java, the heartland of the Sundanese people, the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia. The values her family espoused were traditional and semi-religious. Her feminist stirrings developed as a result of what she felt to be differential treatment by her parents towards her and  her brother. Growing up, her father would suggest traditional female professions for her: flight attendant, secretary, or other occupations considered ‘proper for women’. Being a natural rebel, Julia baulked at the idea. “I’ve always wanted to change the world since I was a child”, she laughs, so clearly, traditional female roles was not for her.

However, this conflict of values with her family only served to sharpen her resolve to define herself according to who she felt she truly was. Although her family did not fully support her journey, she concedes that they played a role in shaping who she is now. In retrospect, her upbringing was instrumental in putting her on the path to become a leading authority on gender and sexuality issues in Indonesia.

Ironically, it was her marriage in July 1974 at age 20, to Ami Priyono, the late film director and actor, which also helped her pursue her calling. After giving birth to her son in November 1975, Julia decided to go abroad to study in the UK, defying all opposition from her family. Her mother called her “ungrateful”, but Julia felt she had to know who she was – apart from being a daughter, wife and mother. In the Indonesian traditional view, the ultimate aim in life is for a woman to have a family – and be happy and fulfilled by it. They certainly are not expected to leave their family behind to pursue an education or career.

Ostensibly she went to London, enrolling at City University, to obtain a BSc in Sociology. But in fact it was also a journey in search of identity, full of painful stumbling blocks, criticism even condemnation for “defying nature”: motherhood and being a wife. While initially opposed to her studying abroad, Ami eventually recognized he had married a rara avis (a rare bird), and that precisely to “keep” her, he had to let Julia go in search of her own identity. Julia feels that the feminist movement needs more supportive men like her late husband.

Women as Nonprofit Leaders

For Julia, the challenges for women in the nonprofit and private sector are similar but not quite the same. Gender has become an important aspect of development work and therefore many non-profit organizations engage women with the ability to generate social impact for other women.  Indeed there are several NGOs that work on issues such as women’s empowerment, migrant workers, domestic workers, and domestic violence in which women leaders are urgently needed.

Although NGOs are deemed as being more progressive than society at large, gender stereotypes pertaining to the women’s roles still persist. For example, women are still often relegated to so-called ‘domestic activities’, such as preparing food and drinks. Sexual harassment, even rape, also occur within the NGO movement which proves that despite progressive political proclamations, traditional gender mindsets die hard.

Whether women choose to work in the public or nonprofit sector, the reality is that women have to work twice as hard to be recognized because of the negative stereotypes that are still attached to women. According to Julia “It all depends on women, whether they are willing to take charge or not.”

About Julia Suryakusuma 

JuliaBorn in New Delhi, India, on July 19, 1954 to a diplomat family, Julia Suryakusuma grew-up overseas and spent her childhood and teenage years moving around. She grew up in London, Budapest and Rome. Starting her education in London at the age of six is the reason for her native fluency in English, while her education at Marymount International High School in Rome developed her critical and analytical thinking. It was also there that she developed an interest in philosophy.

She continued to develop her career as an independent scholar and freelance writer by writing both scholarly papers and essays as well as journalistic articles, features and columns in both national and international publications. Her MA thesis, State Ibuism: the Social Construction of Womanhood (Komunitas Bambu, 2011, bilingual English and Indonesian) has been a classic for 25 years and is required reading in universities in Indonesia as well as abroad. In 2004 she published “Sex, Power and Nation”, a compilation of her scholarly works, which has also has been translated into Indonesian (as “Agama, Seks dan Kekuasaan”, Komunitas Bambu, 2012).

Julia has been writing a regular column for The Jakarta Post since 2006. Her new book, Julia’s Jihad, an anthology of columns 2006-2013, was published in English in May 2013. Julia’s Jihad exists also in Indonesia and Korean versions, is currently being translated into French, and will be translated into German, and possibly Dutch and Arabic.


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 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. 

Citigroup Executive on the Role of Institutions as Equalizers of Opportunities

Zeger van der Wal and Michael Zink 

Under the broad title ‘‘Can Institutions be an Equalizer of Opportunities?” Michael Zink, Singapore Country Officer for Citigroup, began his lecture at the LKY School of Public Policy on April 2nd, 2013.  He started by giving a brief introduction of the banking and financial operations of Citi in Asia and also shared how the network has expanded from three generations in the region, emphasizing on how Citi uses leadership to enhance the role of women in organisations, not only in Asia, but also in other parts of the world. Currently, 54% of Citi workforce is made of women. His leadership focuses on the development of staff to strengthen their role in the important hubs and centers, ensuring that women are given equal chance without underestimating their capabilities across different levels of the organisation. He also stressed that one in five women in executive positions.

Learning to develop talent across to the organisation has enabled Citi to recruit and retain talented professionals. For him, it is critically important to have equal opportunities plans and a clear succession plan, based on meritocracy, skills and competency.

Why Care For Women?

Quoting McKinsey’s report, Mr. Zink said that ‘‘When women have influence on top of the house the institution performs better’’. Today’s organisations are made of young men and women who can make choices and decisions. Gender diversity is now often used as the reason why major firms have done better, especially if  more women are involved. Although, increasing women’s numbers in an organisation is not necessary the definition of women emancipation, this contributes to a leadership that celebrates diversity. He cited few examples of capable women leaders who currently holds important positions in Citi and how their performance is linked to specific characteristics women are known to possess (e.g. attention to details, etc.) that are critical to any organisation.

Women and Globalization

Mr. Zink explained that there is an emergence of a whole new set of companies from the G20 countries, whose ambition is to follow the same path as Citi. Most leaders have recognized that including women in executive positions reduce the risk and challenges found in the business world. However, the big challenge is that, according to McKinsey, organisations lose women leadership along the way especially from mid-to-senior management levels and even more at the – at thesenior level Citi has addressed this challenge creating an atmosphere of empowerment for women and encouraging them to rise to higher positions. Empowering is an act that is consistently tied to hiring, retaining and promoting women. Citi has succeeded in doing this by providing a whole range of modern working practices, such as flexi-time, telecommuting, job-sharing, mentoring, and 2 skills building programs for women. Setting clear and gender sensitive hiring goals and programs have recently increased the chances of getting into leadership roles.

Most of the participants shared their views on how women do not work towards fulfilling their aspirations for open senior positions because they lack self-confidence. According to him, once women are empowered, they are able to drive change and make system-changing decisions such as the ability to use different approaches to get the buying of great ideas which may not have been the case if driven by men. Mr. Zink concluded by saying that the main way to address this challenge is to create opportunities for women at every stage of their career, a system which has worked well at Citi.


Post courtesy of Hortence Baho, Master in Public Policy Candidate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.


WPLA’s 2013 Researchers Announced

Women’s Pathways to Leadership in Asia recently launched a Call for Proposals to encourage students pursuing advanced degrees to participate in an upcoming research project by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The selected students include:

Meera Jethal,  Master of Public Administration Candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy 

Edwina Frisdiantiny, Master of Public Policy Candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy 

Hendri Yulius, Master of Public Policy Candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Phuong Thao Nguyen, Master of Public Policy Candidate, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy 

The selected researchers will participate in the a follow up publication to the Rising to the Top?  A Report on Women’s Leadership in Asia. While the first publication “Rising to the Top?” examined a range of available data on women’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific region, identified factors that helped or hindered women in their pathways to leadership, and specified some policy recommendations, the upcoming research will focus exclusively on the non-profit sector in Southeast Asia.

Currently, most of the current literature on the difference female leaders have made address the corporate or for-profit sector (highlighting, for example, correlations between more women senior managers and higher profitability, better governance, and improved risk-taking).  Thus, there is a gap to be addressed in research on women’s impact in the non-profit sector. With this goal in mind, these researchers will interview current leaders in the non-profit sector in the Asia Pacific region.

Their findings will be used to  generate stories and to generalize from these stories what difference women leaders have made and how. These will serve as a source of information to further the research agenda of women’s advancement in the non-profit sector.

Women’s Pathways to Leadership in Asia congratulates the selected scholars!