Encouraging women to fulfil ambitions

Economy August 13, 2014 01:00

By Chananyarak Phetcharat

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The strength of people businesses such as ours increasingly lies in the diversity of their workforces. International consulting firm Grant Thornton released a report last year revealing that 49 per cent of chief executives in Thailand were women, the high

The global ratio of senior management roles filled by women was 24 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 2012 and 20 per cent in 2011. Half of DHL Express Thailand’s 10-member senior management team is women and nearly half of our 1,000 employees are women. 
Thailand ranks 36th in senior management positions filled by women. 
Asean and the Asia-Pacific regions are ahead of the global average with 32 and 29 per cent. While encouraging, this should not induce complacency among fair-minded women and men in Thailand committed to enshrining diversity and equality in the workplace. 
With Deutsche Post DHL Groups’ 475,000 employees in 220 countries and territories around the world, diversity is an essential cornerstone – the DNA – of our business. 
This DNA is reflected in the strategic planning for all areas of our business throughout our company. It is not just a human-resources issue and it does not reflect a “do the minimum” order required by government legislation to comply with that you so often see in other companies. 
We promote gender equality and diversity because it is beneficial for all facets of our business and for all people, women and men alike.
In Germany alone, Deutsche Post DHL employs about 14,000 people with handicaps, an employment quota of 8.6 per cent. 
Activities undertaken on behalf of all groups range from workplace design and flexible work schedules to support of work-life balance. 
By signing the Charter of Diversity, an initiative launched by the association Charta der Vielfalt, we expressed our commitment in 2007 to further integrating diversity into the development of a corporate culture characterised by respect and openness.
DHL’s gender-equality initiatives, addressed globally including in Thailand, consist of increasing the number of women in all executive and operating positions, management development programmes, mentoring schemes and a professional women’s network. 
Our business is a gender-neutral people business that treats everyone equally. 
And that “everyone” must include women who even with all their untapped business talents and experience over the years were treated “less equally”. 
Women want to rise to the top just as men do, and are as capable of and adept at doing so. 
The career ambitions of DHL’s female employees are just as high as those of their very talented peers. Increasingly women do have top-management ambitions, at DHL and elsewhere, and want to advance in their organisations and have the requisite mix of tools to achieve their ambitions. 
Just as important and with our encouragement is their willingness to convey their ambitions openly and promote themselves to direct supervisors and others at the top of the company. 
And they share their goals and dreams without any fear of being shut out or discriminated against in any way.
Our fostering of diversity within DHL requires a strategic alignment of an individual’s own actions, desires and personal initiative with a supportive corporate culture, the organisational environment in which all of us, not just executives, work. 
It is tough for even the most skilled and determined individuals to “take on” a large organisation unwilling to encourage diversity. But when corporate cultures such as ours are comfortable with gender-diversity objectives, a woman’s rise to the top is very achievable. 
And that important climb up the corporate ladder is very welcome, as it makes good business sense. It is a good strategy that more organisations should adopt. 
Chananyarak Phetcharat is managing director of DHL Express Thailand-Indochina.