Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, 8 March 2023 – In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Roche Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore hosted a virtual webinar entitled “Leading for Equality & Equity: How far have we already come towards gender equity in our nation?” While celebrating women leaders, the session aimed to emphasise the need for equity to reach gender equality and to transform patient health through insights from inspirational women who have made positive impacts in their respective industries.
The panel of women leaders from the Asia–Pacific region comprised Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Writer & Activist; Cindy Sirinya Bishop, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Asia-Pacific, Thailand; Deepti Saraf, General Manager of Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd and Yeoh Ying Ying, General Manager of Roche Singapore Pte Ltd.
They shared their individual experiences, insights, and perspective in championing gender parity in their respective industries to inspire wisdom, courage and change within our communities.
Commenting on the need for structural changes within our communities, Datin Paduka Marina said, “I believe that women’s equity and equality are essential for Malaysia to be a fairer and more prosperous society that will contribute to economic growth and offer equal opportunities for women. Promoting gender equality will empower Malaysia to unleash the potential of its untapped talent of women. Equality and equity for women will also result in greater social justice and better representation of women’s needs and interests in the decision-making process.”
Deepti, is a strong advocate for equity in women’s healthcare as the equity gap is even wider in healthcare for women. She said, “Women form 70% of the global healthcare workforce but only 5% of global healthcare assets are focused on women and it is found that women are underrepresented in clinical trials, contributing to health inequities and social injustice.”
She also added, “We need more women leaders to raise the voice for these inequities. It is good to note that currently women make up 40% of positions in senior management teams in Malaysia in 2022. While there has been progress over the last decades, the world is still not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030.”
Deepti also highlighted that Roche is committed to more inclusive research & partnering in building a more empowering healthcare infrastructure for women. “At our workplace, we support women by building a thriving community for women employees, supported by mentoring and coaching, and addressing the unconscious biases and limiting beliefs that women often face,” she added.
Ying Ying, who believes that mentoring and partnerships increase the opportunities for equity, said, “When we collaborate and support each other, we can accomplish so much more. Whether with our own teams or with groups outside our organisation, purposeful partnerships help breakdown siloed approaches and embrace the diversity of thought that lead to long-term sustainability of resources and collective impact. Roche is committed to ensuring inclusive working environments for our people and will be extended to our partners as we collectively develop new and better healthcare solutions for all.”
“As an ambassador, I will continue to show my support for women and push the envelope on institutionalised gender equality”, said Cindy. “Advocating for gender equality and female empowerment helps to challenge traditional gender roles and norms that limit women’s potential and perpetuate gender-based violence. Advocacy also enables people to recognise their rights and take action to address the inequalities women face in the society.”
As a healthcare leader, Roche reaffirmed its commitment to uphold diversity by actively encouraging and expanding the number of women in senior positions and managing roles, while continuously seeking ways to increase the involvement of women in the research and development projects. Roche firmly believes in instilling a sense of pride in the achievements in society and encouraging everyone to press towards gender equity, women’s rights and support diversity and inclusion.