In the dynamic landscape of the technology industry, gender diversity has become a crucial conversation. Talking to Collective for Equality, Mui Cheng Tan, Deputy Head of Service Delivery for the ASEAN and India region at Fujitsu, shares her experiences and insights on overcoming gender biases, workplace gender equity, and the importance of fostering women’s participation in STEM roles. Her journey is a testament to breaking barriers and paving the way for more inclusive workplaces.

Mui Cheng Tan’s journey at Fujitsu provides valuable insights into the complexities of achieving gender equality in the tech industry. From breaking biases to fostering inclusive workplace practices, her experiences and recommendations serve as a guide for organizations and individuals striving to create more diverse and equitable workplaces. As the conversation around gender equality continues, Mui Cheng’s leadership stands as a beacon of inspiration for the future of the technology sector.

With over two decades of experience in IT, Mui Cheng Tan has played diverse roles, from service delivery management to business development. In her current position at Fujitsu, she leads the Managed Services and Business Applications units, focusing on implementing strategies to address societal challenges and opportunities. Mui Cheng emphasizes the importance of letting leadership and skills speak louder than gender-related criticism, urging young women to believe in their abilities.

Key Learnings for Women in Leadership

Reflecting on her early days, Mui Cheng shares that facing pushback in a male-dominated industry is not uncommon. Instead of getting caught up in doubts, she advocates for believing in one’s abilities and finding mentors who can provide invaluable guidance and support. Mui Cheng emphasizes the transformative power of mentorship, which not only offers advice but also inspires and uplifts young women, boosting their confidence as they progress towards leadership roles.

Mui Cheng sheds light on Fujitsu’s commitment to eradicating biases in their recruitment processes. Inclusive hiring practices, gender-neutral job descriptions, and unbiased screening processes are key components. The ‘Work Your Way’ initiative, promoting flexible working arrangements, supports working parents in balancing family and work commitments. Professional growth opportunities, including online learning platforms and internal mentorship programs, are crucial for fostering an equitable workplace.

The Innovation Potential of Gender Diversity

Mui Cheng emphasizes the research-backed notion that diverse groups generate more innovative ideas. She encourages businesses to harness women’s perspectives as end-users for valuable insights into customer behaviours. Diversity not only unlocks potential for innovative products and services but also promotes a more inclusive and dynamic workplace culture.

Fujitsu Southeast Asia boasts almost 40% of women in its tech workforce, with over 30% in leadership positions. Mui Cheng suggests hosting workshops and roadshows to showcase the evolving nature of STEM fields, creating a supportive professional community, and offering flexible work arrangements to attract and retain women in technology roles.

Breaking Biases for Career Progression

Mui Cheng identifies motherhood bias and the perception of women as ‘too emotional’ as significant barriers to career progression. She underscores the need to challenge these biases and advocates for recognizing women’s effectiveness as leaders. Prioritizing work-life balance and dispelling outdated assumptions are crucial steps toward gender equality in the workplace.

For a company to truly embrace gender diversity, Mui Cheng stresses the importance of leadership commitment. Real actions, such as setting and tracking diversity metrics, ensuring equal rewards, and offering opportunities for career development, are vital in translating commitment into tangible results.

Role of Men in Achieving Gender Equality

Mui Cheng believes that men can be allies in achieving gender equality by gaining insights into the challenges women face and challenging biases in the workplace. By actively supporting their female colleagues and ensuring their voices are heard, men can contribute to fostering an inclusive and equal work environment.

Mui Cheng identifies the absence of women’s voices in leadership meetings as a challenge, potentially leading to strategies that don’t address female employees’ needs. Understanding female perspectives on gender equality and representation is crucial for creating meaningful change.