Everyone needs to pull their weight 

Sonjia Piontek is the Founder & CEO of Sonnenkind Pte Ltd and a Global Keynote Speaker based in Singapore.

What according to you are the successes of gender equality movement which gathered momentum towards the end of the last decade?
I believe that with many topics that are deemed “unpopular” it takes a lot of time and a lot of people to raise awareness and get the momentum going. The last few years have shown a great deal of public debate on gender equality. With social media being ever more prominent these messages had a real platform. What also helped quite a lot is men actually lobbying for gender equality – their engagement gave the campaign a huge push.

At the start of this decade, what would be your three priorities for gender equal workplaces?
Actually, my only priority would be to get to a point where gender equality doesn’t isn’t  a “topic” any more but where it simply is the norm. 

How important is the role of men in this movement and what according to you should organisations do to involve them?
Men play a crucial role in the development towards gender equality. Without their understanding, support and involvement, gender equality would forever remain a distant aim. One very powerful tool to involve men in the movement is to actually show them how capable females are. Allow ladies to enter the boardrooms and show the world how good they are at running the business! This will be the single most powerful way to make everyone aware that gender equality is something we can all benefit from it.

How important is the concept of “Sisterhood” in accelerating change?
An old African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go on your own. If you want to go far, go together.” Joining forces, being there to listen, to share and to support is key in accelerating the change to a world with more gender equality. Many girls and ladies lack confidence and it is so powerful to see how much you – as another woman – can help in making them believe in themselves, taking a stand and trusting in their capabilities.

Do you think we need a young champion like Greta Thunberg for this cause as well?
Malala is a very strong champion that I deeply respect. She has taken a stand at a very young age and under extremely difficult circumstances. It is however up to every single one of us and the thousands of little steps we all take to reach the goal. Yes, in terms of PR a young champion can help. But in the end, it’s so much more important that we all do this together and everyone pulls their weight.