Photo: Clement Goh

In exactly five words, how would you describe what you do at Moxy?

Advancing workplace inclusivity with data.

How did you shift from working with billion-dollar brands to founding a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI) company?

From FMCG to motherhood, my career journey was disrupted by illness, miscarriages, and company restructuring. Facing redundancy with two kids under two, I discovered a bleak reality: Part-time marketing roles in Singapore were scarce, and flexible work policies were non-existent. Headhunted for a role, I was deemed unfit due to my “personal circumstances” (two young kids), not my skills or experience.

I was not asked if I could travel if arrangements could have been put in place. Everything was assumed. It made me reach the conclusion that structural changes needed to be made in workplaces for women — one that was free from biases, had more inclusive policies, and could flex for individual needs.

What are the main reasons behind Singapore’s ‘leaky pipeline’ at mid-senior levels, and how does Moxy tackle them?

In Singapore, more than 50 per cent of women drop off between mid to senior levels of their career and only 2 in 10 leadership positions in Asia are made up of women. That is ultimately what spurred me on to build Moxy — a movement to bring together the collective voices of women as data to drive structural, positive change for women in workplaces. We gather data from women (500+ across 100+ companies) to uncover hidden challenges like lack of allyship, pay transparency, and flexibility options.

Photo: Clement Goh

We then partner with companies to implement targeted interventions like policy changes, workshops, and allyship programs. Post the interventions taking place, we measure again to ascertain if visible progress has been made in the organisation.

To boost female leaders in Singapore, what structural workplace changes are crucial?

Workplace policies must consider women’s unique challenges, as they often bear more home responsibilities (52 per cent vs 13 per cent for men). Creating a culture of safety and trust is essential, along with anti-discrimination policies, feedback mechanisms, and training to address unconscious bias and microaggressions. Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work, part-time, and job-sharing, are vital to supporting women in managing both career and personal duties.

Economically, addressing these issues is more cost-effective than the high turnover costs associated with losing female talent. Transparent promotion criteria and processes are key, complemented by objective feedback and continuous improvement. Finally, measuring the success of DEI initiatives using data-driven approaches, like tracking the talent pipeline and gathering employee feedback, is crucial.

What can Singapore learn from other family-friendly countries about supporting women through work flexibility and supportive policies?

Singapore can glean valuable insights from countries with family-friendly policies. For example, Finland’s Working Hours Act allows workers to control 50 per cent of their hours, enhancing work-life balance. Belgium and others like Iceland, Spain, and the UK, are experimenting with a four-day work week. Regarding parental leave, Nordic countries like Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland offer substantial paternity leave, fostering shared parenting and benefiting economic growth by 10 to 20 per cent in GDP per capita.

Workplace policies must consider women’s unique challenges.

A professional brush with discrimination inspired Khatija Aslam, to create a platform where women’s voices can effect change.

However, cultural attitudes also play a role; despite generous paternity leave options in Japan, uptake is low due to societal pressures. Singapore must thus not only adopt flexible policies but also encourage cultural shifts, particularly in normalising paternity leave and incentivising its acceptance in the workplace.

When you look at the state of the world today, what is one thing that gives you hope?

Amidst the complexities of the world today, what gives me hope is the resilience and collective voices of individuals and communities. Witnessing people come together to address global challenges, advocate for positive change, and support one another underscores the enduring spirit of humanity. This collective commitment to creating a better future inspires optimism and fuels my belief in our capacity for positive transformation.