Championing Diversity in Tech in Asia-Pacific

Becoming agents of change in a digital world

Mary McHale
Championing Diversity in Tech in Asia-Pacific

It has been said that building a culture of diversity in tech is all about building a great company culture. Diversity in teams brings different knowledge, experiences and perspectives, as well as an increase in creativity and empathy; all of which leads to building more innovative products and services to meet the broader set of customer needs in today’s digitally driven world. A great culture underscores a company’s ability to bring out the best in its people and in turn attract the loyalty of its customers and a pipeline of talent.

At Equinix, developing and promoting female leadership is at the top of our agenda. This is represented in the 50% increase in the number of women that have been promoted in Asia-Pacific in the last five years; bringing this in line with promotional rates for male colleagues. Our female talents possess a wide range of skills and expertise, such as technology programming and data center engineering, operations, technical sales and business development, marketing, management, PR and communications, as well as legal and human resources.

We were recently honored with recognition for our culture and as a testament of our efforts to promote inclusivity and equality across the organization by being awarded “The Best Company for Women” by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Hong Kong as part of their annual Women of Influence Awards.

Taking charge of change 

As a woman in tech, I am extremely proud to be part of an organization that champions female empowerment. Equinix encourages women to reach their full potential by providing leadership networks, access to executives, challenging projects and workplace policies and procedures that support gender equality.

In 2018, we extended maternity leave to 14 weeks in Hong Kong and paternity leave to 5 days to support our women and their families, and promote a better work life balance. As such, Equinix has experienced 100% retention rate for working moms returning from their maternity leave over the last 3 years.

Apart from additional maternity cover, each employee has access to a professional development and training budget to upskill, hone their industry expertise and boost their career profile through joining professional organizations and external education.

Selected leaders are professionally media trained to represent Equinix as spokespeople for the company. Our extensive internal online training platform also provides over 850 courses for our staff to broaden their skillsets beyond their daily job scope at work.

I am an Ambassador for the Equinix Women’s Leadership Network (EWLN), designed to elevate, promote and develop women at all levels at Equinix and was recently recognized as a Hero for Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at Equinix, so we are truly doing our part to support more women in tech.

Externally, EWLN also supported the launch of TOGE+her, an industry wide organization dedicated to empowering women in technology, as part of a joint effort with Telstra, Oracle, Google and WHub.

To nurture the next generation of women leaders, EWLN provided mentors for the Cisco Innovation Challenge in support of developing Hong Kong’s next generation of tech leaders.  The Challenge is an intensive mentorship program that coaches middle school and high school students on a Smart Cities project and competition. Through participating in the program, these students developed critical thinking skills, problem solving, presentation skills, and received career development coaching along the way.

As the tech industry continues to grow and flourish, Yee May Leong, Managing Director, Equinix South Asia, encourages female leaders to step up and be agents of change.

“I’ve been in technology for 37 years, I remember that in my early days, I used to be the only woman in a sea of men. As a woman, I think we always work harder, because we were a rarity. So for those looking to get to the top, you need to deliver on what you have promised and honor that,” said Yee May, speaking at the Singapore Women In Payments Symposium 2019.

The future

When it comes to gender diversity in the boardroom, the reality remains that women are largely under-represented on corporate boards, and the progress to change this trend continues to be slow.

This was reflected in Deloitte Global’s sixth Women in Boardroom: A Global Perspective report,[1] which showed that women hold just 16.9% of board seats globally, with a meager increase of 1.9% in women-held seats this year.

While gender diversity in companies is generally improving across Asia, the report found that the region still lags globally – in particular, women hold 9.3% of board seats in Asia, versus 16.9% globally.

Corporate policies, cultures that embrace and celebrate diversity, and thoughtful legislation are critical to ensuring the technology industry continues to recognize the importance of diversity to guaranteeing its future success.

Building on a foundation of inclusivity, organizations will be able to work towards a future where women and men are represented equally to deliver the next generation of technology and where the gender pay gap ceases to exist.

To learn more about how we advance diversity and inclusion, please download our latest sustainability report:


[1] Deloitte Global’s sixth Women in Boardroom: A Global Perspective report

Subscribe to the Equinix Blog