This year, the theme for International Women’s Day was #EmbraceEquity – and at Juniper Networks, we strongly advocate for this because Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is an extremely critical and integral part of our DNA.
When we look at DEI, we first look to our greatest asset – our people. When we have a diverse and engaged team of employees who feel empowered, included, supported and respected, they become our best ambassadors for attracting talent and are our most productive contributors.
Equity acknowledges that we’re not all starting from the same place. Embracing Equity means ensuring that everyone, regardless of gender, has equal opportunities to work on their strengths and to grow and develop as individuals.
Engaging and Empowering Women as Leaders
There is a need for organizations to create an inclusive and equitable working environment where women employees feel as equally empowered as their male counterparts to speak up and drive change.
In fact, Juniper is a company that strongly believes in nurturing female talent and enabling female representation in leadership roles. We continue to make great strides on this front through the on-going implementation of policies and programs that support gender diversity – all to ensure that women have equal opportunities for career advancement within our organization.
Paving the Way for Greater Inclusion and Diversity
Across the company, we hold ourselves accountable by measuring our efforts around DEI – one way in which we’re doing this is to look at how we’re diversifying our talent pools. For example, we hire women professionals who are keen to return to work after extended career breaks in India, providing them the opportunity to transition back into a full-time career.
Elevating women to leadership roles
Across Asia, women comprise only 24% of middle and senior management roles in the private sector, and a mere 4.1% of CEOs are women. Clearly, more must be done to better support female representation at a senior level.
Fortunately, at Juniper, we see this being elevated across the region. The increased focus on gender equality within our organization has led to more women being appointed to leadership positions in conventionally male-dominated functions. This is a testament to the progress we have made in having more female representation.
In 2018, Juniper launched the Hire-Engage-Raise (HER) program in APAC to increase awareness about the importance of gender diversity in our region and to sponsor and nurture women to help elevate them to leadership roles.
The HER program aims to benefit employees by providing mentoring, development, and business exposure to nurture and support them in taking up leadership positions within the company. Having benefited from Program HER, we have quadrupled the number of APAC women leaders in Director level roles since 2018. We have seen this for leaders like Shirley Yeung, Total Rewards Director, Asia Pacific, who graduated from the HER program:
“DEI has now become one important area in both life and work. Being a long-time employee here, I’ve witnessed how the company dedicated resources and efforts towards DEI in the past few years, such as a dedicated L&D team that continuously supports women’s leadership development. As an HER ambassador, I’d like to continue leading Juniper towards identifying key opportunities, setting goals and execution plans to advocate for gender equality, and providing greater education around gender equality and stereotypes.”
Juniper has also invested in the APAC Women’s Development Program since 2021 to ensure a steady pipeline of women leaders. Since then, around 80 women with leadership potential have graduated from the program, and a new cohort was kicked off this month on March 8th, in line with International Women’s Day.
Ensuring equity also means enabling diverse needs and providing opportunities for employees to grow both in the workplace and at home. This is why we rolled out CLEO in 2019 – a support system for working families/parents that provides 1:1 personalized virtual support on a variety of topics and resources.
From the moment families are expecting to the child’s 12th birthday, CLEO helps all families get the support and guidance they need to thrive. This support covers all key areas – birth preparation and newborn care, childhood development, behavioral issues and navigating work and life transitions.
All employees are provided access to the CLEO App, which hosts a comprehensive content library for any questions, especially as new milestones arise for first-time parents.
Armed with personalized content, a specialist network and online workshops, the app also provides users access to in-depth support from certified specialists at zero cost. Each session is an hour long, conducted virtually, and available to employees and their spouses.
Building Culture Starts with Us
As a tech company, we have a unique challenge because of the current nature of the industry, which tends to be more male-dominated. This truly reflects the urgency of this issue at hand and emphasizes the need for us to do more to embrace equity.
At Juniper, we want to create a culture where people feel safe and empowered to innovate in an employee-first workplace.
By valuing and empowering women, not only are we building a more equitable working environment for all, we are tapping into a diverse range of perspectives and experiences, which ultimately leads to better decision-making and increased innovation.