Fostering Gender Equality and Inclusion to Build a Thriving Workplace

Gender equality in the global workforce is a multifaceted issue with varying levels of progress across different countries and industries. However, according to PwC’s research on workplace inclusion, women with the highest levels of inclusion are more likely to advance in their careers. The study highlights the importance of workplace inclusion in promoting gender equity and women’s progression, particularly in light of the slow progress in gender representation in leadership positions worldwide.

The research reveals a gender disparity in promotion and pay raise requests, but also shows that women in inclusive environments are more likely to seek advancement opportunities. Here are some key strategies for creating a thriving workplace through gender equality and inclusion.

Equal Representation on Company Boards

To cultivate gender equality and inclusivity in the workplace, it’s imperative to strive for balanced representation of both women and men on company boards. Designating a specific board seat for an individual committed to championing talent retention and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is essential. Leadership must initiate and drive change from the highest level, embedding equity principles throughout board structure and activities.

This approach emphasises the importance of diverse perspectives and inclusive practices in shaping company culture and decision-making processes. Companies need to consider not only the appointment of women onto boards but also their integration to reap the full benefits of gender diversity.

Equip Male Leaders to Champion DEI

Men play a vital role as allies in promoting gender equity and fostering a more inclusive society. By amplifying women’s voices, challenging stereotypes, and educating themselves about gender disparities, they can actively contribute to reshaping societal norms. Men can also provide mentorship and sponsorship to women, promoting equal representation in leadership and reflecting on their own biases and privileges.

Focus on Diversity During Recruitment Process

To achieve gender equality in the workplace, it is crucial to start with the recruitment process. This involves creating accurate and inclusive job descriptions, sourcing a diverse candidate pipeline, and conducting fair interviews. It is necessary to eliminate internal biases throughout the hiring process, with a particular focus on executive positions. According to McKinsey, men currently hold approximately 60 percent of manager positions, while women hold 40 percent, a representation of the gender disparity in early promotions. With men outnumbering women, there are fewer women to promote to senior managers, causing a decreasing number of women at every subsequent level.

Equal Pay and Benefits

Organisations must ensure that all employees receive equitable compensation for their contributions, irrespective of their gender. The gender pay gap refers to the difference in average earnings between men and women in the workforce. Despite efforts to narrow the gap, women still earn 16 percent less than men on average. The gender pay gap varies significantly across industries, locations, ethnicities, age groups, motherhood statuses, and education levels. Some groups experience a much wider gap than others.

Flexible Work Policies

Enforcing flexible work policies, including remote work alternatives and adaptable schedules, promotes work-life balance for every employee. During the International Women’s Day Celebration 2024, the Malaysian Prime Minister had said the government is looking into a more flexible pay scheme for the civil service to enable women employees to better care for their families. This is a move that the Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services Malaysia (CUEPACS) sees as a significant step towards gender equality and work-life balance in the public sector as it would assist women employees to balance work and childcare duties at home.


Fostering gender equality and inclusion is essential for building a thriving workplace. And we can achieve this by ensuring equal representation on company boards, equipping senior male leaders to champion DEI, focusing on diversity during recruitment, ensuring equal pay and benefits, and implementing flexible work policies. These efforts not only advance gender equity but also contribute to increased productivity, innovation, and financial returns. By embracing gender equality and inclusion, organisations can nurture a more resilient workforce and drive positive change for all employees.

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