May 14, 2024

Supporting gender equity with flexible remote work

Flexible remote work can be a game-changer for working women. In this guest post, Sojung Lee (President, APAC) tells us how. 

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  • There have been huge strides in championing the role of women in tech in recent years. But at times the numbers still paint a different picture. 

    Fewer than one-third of tech sector employees globally are women. Only 22% of AI workers are women. Equally worrying, women account for only 28% of engineering graduates

    From these statistics, it’s clear that the journey to full representation and equal opportunity remains ongoing. 

    But while numbers often dominate discussions around gender disparity, they shouldn't distract us from the goal of fostering an inclusive and diverse environment where everyone can excel.  

    After all, true diversity isn’t only about bridging the gender divide. Because diverse perspectives are the best means of driving innovation. Respecting, valuing, and nurturing them is crucial.  But what’s the best way of doing this?

    Lead with a flexible, remote-first approach  

    Juggling work and family is a key barrier to women at work. All too often, the demands of caregiving fall disproportionately on women and can hinder career advancement. 

    Indeed, one Australian study found that more than half (56 %) report that caring for children was the main barrier to work or working more hours, compared to only 0.2% for men.

    Understandably, this can lead to reduced participation in the workforce. Globally, twice as many women as men are outside the workforce. In the EU, recent data shows that the share of women working part-time was higher than the share of men (28% vs. 8%). 

    Adopting a flexible remote-first approach can help to address this. Through it, all employees – regardless of gender – can get the flexibility they need to manage both work and family commitments. It can also help men and women to contribute to housework in equal measure. 

    In this, a blend of work-from-home and in-office work policies can be a game-changer. With flexible working hours, extended parental leave, and supported reintegration post-leave, we can enhance women’s participation and growth in the workforce.

    Move past the constraints of geography

    In the past, geographical constraints often curtailed opportunities. This was especially the case for women who, due to societal or familial pressures, found it hard to move or commute long distances. 

    The amazing thing about remote work is that it can dismantle geographical barriers. It fosters recognition and cultivation of talent, regardless of physical location. 

    Women who might previously have been restricted by location or ability to travel can now lead teams worldwide. They can harness their skills, knowledge, and expertise to influence and drive change, no matter where they are.

    Back-to-office policies don’t suit everyone

    A recent study found that 19 per cent of mothers with young children have thought about leaving work. They did so due to the challenges of balancing work and childcare. In contrast, only one in ten fathers reported similar challenges.

    This discrepancy underscores a significant gender disparity exacerbated by return-to-office (RTO) policies. As a result, business leaders must exercise caution and avoid implementing them too soon. 

    The bottom line? Remote and flexible working are key to creating an inclusive environment. This helps attract and keep female talent in the workforce.

    Navigate boundaries with flexible remote work

    Of course, flexible remote work brings challenges of its own. One study from the World Economic Forum stressed the problem of boundaries. Working remotely at home, women often feel pressured to do more than their share of housework. As a result, they end up doing two full-time jobs at the same time!

    As a result, maintaining a healthy work-life balance needs careful attention – and for women, in particular. So, with remote work, it's more important than ever for women to assert boundaries and get support. They need to make sure that they're not taking too much on.

    Work against stigma

    At the same time, it's important to highlight the continued presence of stigma. Employees can face stigma for prioritizing family through remote and flexible work. This stigma can be particularly pronounced for men. 

    This stigma, in turn, makes men less likely to take advantage of remote flexible work. Which means care work stays the responsibility of women. 

    To address this, organizations must admit and address these changing attitudes. They have to foster a fairer and more inclusive environment for all employees. 

    Get the tools and resources that you need

    To create an inclusive remote working environment, teams must have access to the resources and tools they need to succeed. Training in digital tools, cybersecurity, and virtual collaboration platforms can go a long way.

    Additionally, training in effective virtual communication, conflict resolution, and team management can equip leaders to oversee remote teams. Leadership in a virtual world requires a different set of skills. Companies must be proactive in providing the necessary tools and training to do this.


    These days, we are lucky to have access to a huge global pool of talent. Our task is to integrate and keep more women at all levels across tech and engineering. Or, as my colleague Faith Wheller wrote recently, ‘we need to create conditions that allow us to attract, foster, and hold onto diverse talent.’

    The evolution of the modern workplace has been profound. Without doubt, flexible remote work has emerged as one of the most significant changes. It holds the potential to revolutionize gender dynamics in professional settings. It allows us to imagine an environment where equity is not aspirational but achievable. 

    The future of work is undeniably digital. Forward-thinking businesses will see remote work's potential to redefine gender norms in leadership. Promoting gender equity and providing the right resources can ensure a more balanced and inclusive workplace for all.

    Sojung Lee

    President TeamViewer APAC

    Sojung Lee is the President of TeamViewer for the Asia-Pacific region, responsible for Southeast Asia, Greater China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand (APAC). She is based in APAC HQ Singapore and her responsibilities encompass all go-to-market activities in APAC, including direct sales as well as developing an ecosystem of strong alliances such as channel partners, distributors, and resellers.