Regional conference

Fostering female talent in the workforce: Women in business and management

An Asia-Pacific regional conference organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) held on the 3rd of July 2015 in Singapore.


The growing engagement of women in the labour market has been a major propeller of regional and global growth and competitiveness, and utilizing the skills and talents of both men and women is beneficial for enterprises and society in general. While much has been progress has been made throughout the years, women's labour market participation is still well below that of men in the Asia-Pacific region, women tend to be concentrated in the lower ranks of management and in certain business functions, and the gender pay gaps still persist. Gender equality in the workplace remains a global issue that needs local and regional solutions.

To discuss and share solutions in the Asia-Pacific regional context, the ILO and SNEF are bringing together experts and company representatives from across the region to accelerate the progress of women in business and management.

Conference Agenda

The conference will begin with an opening by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministries of Health and Manpower, Singapore.

Followed by keynote speaker, leading businessman, Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Executive Chairman, Banyan Tree Holdings, President of Wah Chang/Thai Wah Group of Companies, and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Singapore Management University.

The conference will also provide an opportunity to present for the first time the ILO's Asia-Pacific regional report: Women in business and management: Gaining momentum in Asia and the Pacific, which features region specific data and highlights private sector practices. A discussion of the key findings from the report will take place together with Ms Deborah France-Massin, ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities (ACT/EMP) Director./td>

Panel speakers from across the Asia-Pacific region covering Australia, Fiji, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines include:
  •   Ms Janet Ang, Vice President, Systems of Engagement & Smarter Cities, IBM Asia-Pacific
  •   Ms Marife Zamora, Chairperson, Convergys Philippines Services Corporation
  •   Ms Kelly Sofian, Senior Director for Quality and HR at Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company Pte (SSMC)
  •   Ms Kate Carnell, CEO, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
  •   Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore, and Member of Parliament
  •   Ms Evangeline Chua, Head of Human Resources, Citi Singapore
  •   Mr Bob Tan, Co-Chair of Tripartite Alliance of Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), and Chairman, Jurong Engineering Limited
  •   Ms Amy Luinstra, Senior Operations Officer - Gender, International Finance Corporation
  •   Mr Howard Politini, President, Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation, and General Manager of HR, Bank of South Pacific, Fiji
  •   Dr Shahida Sajjad, Board Member, Employers' Federation of Pakistan, and Dean, Faculty of Education, Federal Urdu University of Arts Science & Technology
  •   Mr John Gethin Jones, Managing Director, NCS Papua New Guinea
  •   Ms Clara Goh, Asia Treasury Director, Asia Pacific Region, and Chairwoman of the Women's Leadership Development Committee, UPS Singapore

Professional journalist Sharanjit Leyl of BBC World News will moderate the panel discussions that will include conversations on:
  1. Understanding the challenges in attracting and retaining female talent;
  2. The business and economic case for gender diversity and women's leadership in the workplace;
  3. Presenting solutions for leveling the playing field for women and men in the Asia-Pacific region.

The overall agenda promises to be an interactive day, aimed at experience sharing and focusing on the business case for advancing women in management with representatives from companies across the region joining us for the discussion.

More information and registration for the conference can be found at: