Advancing gender equality in the Asia-Pacific

Procter & Gamble Asia Pacific (P&G APAC) in Singapore knows that companies should lead by example to eliminate gender bias inside and outside of the workplace.

Photo of people posing in balloon-filled room next to text about corporate excellence award (State Dept./Photo © Alfian Fahrurozi/P&G)

“At P&G, we believe that when we empower women, communities are healthier, businesses thrive, and the world is a better place for everyone,” said Magesvaran Suranjan, P&G president for the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

P&G APAC is one of four businesses to win the Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) this year. The award, established in 1999, honors U.S. companies that create international economic growth while upholding high standards as responsible members of the communities where they do business.

P&G APAC not only provides professional mentorship programs for its female employees — it also addresses the behind-the-scenes challenges of balancing personal lives with professional careers through flexible parental leave and child care programs.

The company targets gender disparities in business through education and entrepreneurial opportunities for employees. P&G APAC offers Men Advocating Real Change training to “turn our male employees into allies to help fix the system,” said Suranjan.

Now, half of the P&G Jakarta manufacturing site’s technician leaders and 35 percent of the operations floor staff are women. This is far more equitable than the typical situation for female staff members at manufacturing sites and in leadership positions in the region. For instance, in Singapore women hold roughly 10 percent of leadership positions.

P&G’s professional ethos extends beyond Singapore, as well. The head office encourages offices in 16 other countries in the region to promote professional growth among its women workers.

In addition, the company’s brand advertising campaigns for products used primarily by women, such as Olay and SK-II, are designed to spark conversations about larger social pressures that affect women.

“We have a multifaceted approach of working towards an inclusive, gender-equal environment across all functions, all levels and all markets,” said Suranjan. “We hope that our initiatives will have a positive impact beyond our company walls.”