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Gender Diversity at Workplace Vital to Bottom Line

According to a study conducted by the UK-based consulting firm Shapiro Consultants, inclusive leadership results in 81% improved performance, productivity and loyalty. It also makes companies 70% more likely to capture a new markets and 45% more likely to increase their market share.

This was echoed by a Gallup report, which highlighted that gender-diverse business units had higher revenue and profits as compared to their less-diverse peers. The persistence of a gender gap can cost billions in profit – studies have shown that Fortune 500 companies with the most women on the board of directors outperformed companies with the fewest.

To the KL City Hall senior civil engineer Rusnida Talib, 44, the gender gap is nothing new. When she first joined her employers, she was often the only woman on project sites. However, she realised the advantages that came with her then-unique role and embraced the challenges.

Now Rusnida, who recently was one of the recipients of the prestigious Fujitsu Scholarship for Global Leaders for Innovation and Knowledge, says while the situation is much better there is still gender gap.

“My advice to career women includes knowing and improving strengths, overcoming weaknesses, and staying positive. Gender diversity is good for any business or organization because men and women have different views and ideas and this enables better problem solving. It increases diversity of ideas by introducing different perspectives and approaches. It also attracts talented people that are sensible about the issue and take into consideration gender equality policies when considering different employers. Inclusive leadership includes all stakeholders and levels in the organization, therefore increasing performance and innovation.”

This was echoed by Fujitsu Human Resource, Anita Noor, who said that the scholarship programme was tailored to guide a diverse crowd of leaders into the rigours of management.

“The programme exposes a diverse student body from Asia Pacific to a varied and detailed curriculum. Participants gain and share knowledge in finance, marketing, strategy, organizational behaviour while also studying history, philosophy and ethics to be able to evaluate any situation within the larger business, organizational and cultural context.”

The scholarship will also deepen relationships between nations and its citizens.

Established in 1985, the Fujitsu Scholarship Program provides the opportunity for people in Asia-Pacific to study at Global Leaders for Innovation and Knowledge program and gain best global business management practices that can be applied in their own countries and organizations. To date, the scholarship has since enabled about 500 professionals from 18 countries with practical wisdom – a skill of decision-making and acting on the spot based on the sense of common good. The programme emphasises cross-cultural learning, and so has components across four countries involving professors from renowned universities and successful corporate leaders.

Applications for the highly-coveted programme are now open. It is eligible to working professionals with a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, minimum three years work experience, and strong speaking skills, and covers tuition, airfare, insurance and a living stipend for winners.  Applicants must also show strong commitment to developing their community and nation.

The requirements are competitive – but thanks to trailblazers like Rusnida, Malaysians from all walks of life can rise to the challenge. Prospective applicants are invited to learn more about the programme at http://www.fujitsu.com/scholarship.
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