Among multinational companies based in the country, Procter and Gamble or P&G Philippines is among those which takes gender equality seriously.
The consumer product giant, to underline its commitment, has created an Equality & Inclusion Council which is tasked with nurturing an equal and inclusive workplace for employees where performance, skills, and talent matters for advancement and not gender or sexual orientation.
P&G designated a veteran for 20 years, Evelyn Chua-Ng, as Equality and Inclusion (E&I) Corporate Sponsor and head of the council.
Chua-Ng started in the Philippines in 2001 and assumed vital roles across three countries in Asia.
One such role was Finance Manager for P&G Greater China’s Baby Care, Oral Care, Skincare & Cosmetics sector.
She has gone on to become Chief Financial Officer for P&G Philippines, after which in 2016, she became vice President of P&G Asia Pacific Tax Operations and Comptroller for the expansive Asia, Middle East, Africa region in 2019. She is the highest-ranking Filipino woman in P&G Philippines.
In an interview with Daily Tribune, Chua-Ng indicated equality and inclusion practices should apply to all employees regardless of gender, “male, female, LGBTQ+”.
She believes employees can put in their best efforts only when they can bring their whole, authentic selves to work.
“This is why it’s important to create an environment where all know they are respected and will not be discriminated against,” according to Chua-Ng.
She said that more companies should champion equality and inclusion as an organization strategy since it makes good bsuiness sense.
“Research has shown that diverse and inclusive organizations deliver stronger business results,” she said.
Likewise, diversity of thought sparks better problem-solving, engagement, creativity, innovation and financial performance.
“Ultimately, companies create stronger shareholder value by embracing equitable and inclusive practices.”
Removing bias in society
P&G, she explained, plays a powerful role as thought leader in the space of equality and inclusion.
“These are not new initiatives or buzzwords in P&G because these have been an integral business strategy of ours for many years. Recently, we have seen the power of taking equality and inclusion beyond our workplace and leveraging the reach of our brands in sparking conversations that tackle bias in society,” Chua-Ng noted.
The Philippines, overall, has progressively improved in the area of gender equality, according to Chua-Ng.
More can be done, however. “We relatively fare quite well on this front in both regional and global studies, but of course we still have opportunities,” Chua-Ng related.
She cited education and employment statistics which she said indicated balance, “but on closer and deeper look, there is still a parity-pay gap across genders, and we still do not see many companies with a 50:50 balanced gender ratio in the C-suite or top executive positions.”
“P&G was more intentional in this opportunity and we started years ago, focused on understanding the reasons behind imbalance at top level roles, and then removing barriers preventing women from performing at their peak.”
Now P&G’s total workforce has a gender ratio of 53 percent female and 47 percent male, and even in senior management, it is 54 percent female and 46 percent male.
In the past year, even promotions to director positions were a solid balance of 49 percent males and 51 percent females. Any advancement has always been performance-based and certainly not due to any bias to close a gender gap, but it truly is a result of efforts to understand and remove barriers for all genders to vie and succeed at higher levels.
“I’m privileged to work in a company where senior leaders truly live and breathe an inclusive culture. This is a big enabler as it levels the playing field for everyone. Working with the P&G local office and other regional headquarters throughout my career, I never felt like I was not listened to or my ideas were dismissed because of my gender,” Chua-Ng said. She also mentioned how important it is that her husband has been a big supporter of her career goals and an involved father to their four girls.
Early on in her career at P&G, she realized that her biggest personal challenges are often self-imposed, allowing cultural and social expectations on women and mothers to get the best of her.
The strong P&G equality and inclusion initiatives helped her understand and overcome biases and self-limiting beliefs.
Chua-Ng was a vocal advocate for providing well-appointed breastfeeding rooms in their offices to enable P&G mothers to fulfill their parenting duties easily even while at work.