UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards:
Meet the National Winners
We are excited to announce the winners of the first-ever UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards!
Big congratulations to all the winners who have committed themselves to advancing gender equality and women's economic empowerment. These gender champions from different countries, sectors, and fields are acknowledged respectively for their outstanding Leadership Commitment, Youth Leadership, Gender-inclusive Workplace, Gender-responsive Marketplace, Community and Industry Engagement, and Transparency & Reporting.
*The UN Women Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards represents recognition of exemplary company efforts for gender equality and is limited to a designated category and a specific location and time period. Awarded organizations, alongside their products and services, receiving awards are not endorsed or affiliated with UN Women or WeEmpowerAsia and being recognized as an Awardee does not constitute a partnership. Claims, statements, or endorsements made by awardees are solely those of the individual or organization and do not represent official policies or positions of UN Women.
Professor Elizabeth Lee Fuh Yen, Chief Executive Officer at Sunway Education Group (SEG), is recognized both locally and internationally for her contributions to women’s empowerment and educational causes. Notably, her doctorate by Victoria University has recognized her role as a distinguished educator on issues specific to women’s education. Under Elizabeth’s leadership, SEG has developed into a dynamic group of 17 institutions, including Sunway University, College, and International School. Currently, SEG empowers 30,000 students, of which 56% are female.
In 1992, Sunway College’s top management consisted of 90% male and 10% female leaders, Elizabeth as the only female manager represented. Through Elizabeth’s active leadership in gender equality and advocacy of women’s empowerment in the workplace, women hold six out of the ten senior-most management positions as of 2020. 58% of SEG’s managerial roles are led by women and over 65% of SEG’s workforce are women. Elizabeth’s advocacy for women’s active role in the workplace has led to several advancements at SEG, including lactation rooms, gender-inclusive hiring practices, flexible work arrangements, and sexual harassment policies.
To further strengthen SEG’s commitment to gender equality, marketing and promotional materials continue to highlight gender equality and inclusivity.
Toh Yin Li, Co-Founder of Women at Maxis, has spearheaded dialogue and initiatives on gender equality at Maxis. What started as lunch conversations between eight young women employees on issues from career progression to nursing facilities, progressed into Maxis’ resource group, Women at Maxis, with now more than 300active members and engagement with more than 1,000 employees through the Group’s events.
Toh Yin Li led collaborations with Lean In Malaysia to implement the Lean In Framework on Circles, which spurred the formation of a focus group of 10-15 women and men employees to provide peer support through open dialogue on gender equality. Toh Yin Li continues to make an active effort to ensure top-down engagement on gender equality.
With the formation of Women at Maxis, representation of women in management has increased to 38% in 2020 from 32% previously. Additionally, the Group has successfully established an Inclusion and Diversity Department to continue engagement on gender equality. Recognized for her efforts, Toh Yin Li was awarded the Divisional Spot Award at Maxis in 2020.
Intel has surpassed their RISE 2030 Inclusive Goals; women represent over 40% of technical roles at Intel and are on track to double the number of women in leadership by 2030.
CnetG Asia co-founded Malaysia Women in Energy – driving the development of Recruitment, Promotion, and Retention Best Practices accepted by the Minister of Science, Energy, and Technology in 2018 and 11 CEOs representing energy companies in Malaysia. Other key initiatives launched include an APAC wide study on ‘Barriers Women Leaders Face’ in collaboration with CCL and roundtable discussions held with Chambers of Commerce to promote dialogue on women’s advancement in the workplace.
In the past decade, Goal has reached more than 646,000 girls and over 56,000 girls and young women in 2020.
GoodKids Malaysia believes it takes a village to address the systemic challenges in Malaysia’s marginalized communities and are identifying partners to advance their content and bridge communication gaps with beneficiaries.
1st Runners Up
Dr. Leong Wai Yie, Chair of IET Malaysia and IET Industry 4.0 Technical Network, is an active advocator of EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) in the discipline of engineering. Women engineers lack representation and visibility, which challenges their opportunities to advance professionally and demonstrate their technical expertise. As the Vice President of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia and Women in Engineering Committee of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), Dr. Wai Yie has engaged with international audiences to promote EDI and has actively facilitated exchanges specific to women’s empowerment in the ASEAN engineering community.
In response to the many barriers ASEAN women in engineering face, Dr. Wai Yie successfully developed an online communications strategy in collaboration with IET Malaysia Networks, resulting in over 100 webinars, workshops, and conferences to engage with women engineers and to promote active collaboration. As the Taskforce Lead for EDI, Dr. Wai Yie and her team have formalised the EDI Charter for WFEO, in addition to proposing to the Government of Malaysia to raise the benchmark for women’s participation in top management to 30%.
Dr. Wai Yie continues to impact women issues specific to engineering through an EDI-lens, in collaboration with international organizations including UNESCO and UN Women.
Fatin Fatihah Zahari, Cloud Adoption Engineer at Microsoft Malaysia, is an active advocator of gender equality and has intentionally leveraged her skills to encourage representation of minority groups within the organization and the wider technology industry. Fatin has led women empowerment initiatives at Microsoft as a Developer Community Champion, a Diversity, Inclusion & Allyship Co-Lead, Accessibility Co-Lead, and her latest involvement, AI Lead of Code Without Barriers program.
Learning from previous initiatives, Fatin crafted the AI Lab under the Code Without Barriers program that helps women across various communities to upskill and reskill according to updated cloud computing requirements. This includes demos and case studies at events in collaboration with universities, enterprises, and government agencies in Malaysia. Currently, over 100,000 individuals participate in Microsoft outreach programs in Asia. From a small town herself, Fatin aims to reach women in marginalized communities through other AI skilling initiatives and achieve Microsoft Malaysia’s target of doubling outreach numbers in a two-year period.
Most recently, Fatin spearheaded the first Women in AI Malaysia Summit in September 2021, where Fatin aimed to improve internal awareness at Microsoft on allyship in the tech industry and spearheading diversity in innovation as the end goal.
An indicator of success includes Nestle Malaysia’s Employee Engagement Survey which showed great improvement on how the organization has enabled employees to balance their work and personal life (e.g., increase in scoring from 66% (2016) to 81% (2020)).
Deloitte GROW is supported by more than 15 Deloitte participants from ASEAN as the program management team, program facilitators, business coaches/mentors, as well as 10 to 15 people from Barry Callebaut, and the teachers and community members. A key result of GROW includes business coaching; many youth participants found business coaching to be helpful, and some grew their revenue by 400%.