This International Women's Day, our very own superwoman, Amy Zheng, shares her thoughts on empowering women as a female business leader & entrepreneur.
Amazin’ Graze was started by three women (Amy, Ching, and Sabrina) who grew up under the influence of strong female role models. We are part of the first generation of females brought up to want a successful career and do something with our lives. Our parents instilled a mentality of “you can do anything”, and our partners are fully supportive of our ambitions and dreams. Thanks to the hard work done by many good men and women before us, we’ve never once felt disadvantaged as female entrepreneurs nor felt that our business success was stifled just because we started as an all-girl team.
Women In The Workplace
With now more than 40 employees comprising our team, women constitute more than 90% of the company leadership, marketing and sales departments. This wasn’t done intentionally - we don’t make hiring decisions based on gender, but on merit. The health food industry also naturally tends to attract more women than men. Nevertheless, we are proud of our female-strong workforce, all of whom are passionate about championing the health and wellness movement across the world.
Contrary to some common misconceptions that having a female-dominant working environment can be “political”, “gossipy” or “too soft”, our team culture is straightforward, efficient, transparent and meritocratic. We don’t sugar coat our words to each other, but we do treat each other with utmost respect. Instead of gossiping, we give direct timely feedback to each other. We don’t pull ranks & hierarchy, but we do encourage everyone to present their own views backed by reason. We are data-driven and analytical with ambitions to be a health & wellness FMCG player that people cannot ignore.
In the last three years, we’ve joyfully seen Amazin’ Graze inspire other women to start their own businesses or just gain more courage to break out of their fears. Nothing can beat real examples of women leading across various industries to encourage more women to step up or “lean in”.
We've Come So Far, But It's Not Over Yet
Yet, the good fight is not over yet either and there’s still a lot more minds to be changed and social boundaries to be pushed. Even in the most developed countries like US, Canada and Australia, women still get paid 16-20% less than men based on their median salaries . In the startup world, female founders received a mere 2% of total VC-funding in 2017 . Female leadership in business is still a rarity and we’re not able to move on from the debate of whether a woman can “have it all”.
As someone who has worked for mainly male-dominated industries over the past 10 years, I’ve sat in extremely uncomfortable board meetings where crude sexist jokes were made. I’ve worked for global corporations where females just keep disappearing from the upper echelons of management. During fundraising, I’ve had to mostly pitch to men from VCs and investment funds. I’ve also recently had a high-ranking executive from a billion-dollar company tell me that I need to hire more men because our team consisted of too many women. Although there are many supportive men and women today, there are still many who believe that women should remain as household caretakers or that too many women working together is detrimental to company growth.
Today, we remember and celebrate how far we’ve come in advancing women’s rights and freedom. We also shouldn’t shy away from pointing out inequalities and prejudices that still shadow our organisations and relationships. We at Amazin’ Graze are proud of our story, the men and women behind all the healthy tasty snacks and the example that we’re setting across our communities. Join us in contributing to the ongoing dialogue and setting examples for people now and those to come.