Women play an integral part across a myriad of functions in driving Grab’s operations as Southeast Asia’s leading superapp. Since 2020, four out of every 10 of our employees are female (Grab ESG report 2020). Come March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
IWD also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. One key area is gender wage equality. As of end 2020, Grab’s gender wage parity index stood at 0.98 for full-time employees across the 14 countries where we have a corporate presence (Grab ESG report 2020).This meant on average, a female Grabber earned 98 cents to a dollar paid to a male Grabber for performing a similar role.
In conjunction with IWD, our new quarterly interview series, Grab A Seat, puts the spotlight on two amazing women at Grab – Raghavi Muurganandan, Security Compliance Strategist and Pauline Leow, Regional Head of Finance Projects & Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Office. We get them and their loved ones to chat about their work life at Grab and how they have been empowered to play their part to build the best technology.
Making Her Mark in Cyber Security
Cyber security has traditionally been regarded as a male dominated field. However, more women are breaking barriers and entering the industry. One of them is Raghavi, who joined Grab’s Cyber Security Team in late 2021.
As a Security Compliance Strategist, her job involves protecting Grab’s data and information assets against threats by updating cybersecurity protocols and having controls in place.
Raghavi with her team in a virtual meeting
Over the years, Raghavi has seen more women choosing a career in Cyber Security. She shares that Grab’s Security Compliance team has almost an equal number of males and females. She says: “Seeing more women succeed in this field can serve as a role model for us. Empowering women is important as they play many roles in life, empowering them empowers their families and communities.”
Her husband Sai jokes that he was expecting vouchers and discounts when Raghavi took on the job at Grab. Banter aside, he is proud that she is working for the Southeast Asia superapp and excelling in her field of specialisation.
Having joined Grab in November 2021, Raghavi hopes to upskill herself in securing cloud-based systems against cyber attacks. Grab’s clear career development plan for its staff was one of the reasons that attracted her to join the company. She says: “With a clear outline on one’s career progress, we own where our careers are headed.
She hopes to lead a full-fledged team within the next few years, as well as learn and develop leadership skills from her bosses and expand her skill sets to areas such as threat assurance.
Carving Out A Work-Life Balance
When Pauline first joined Grab close to seven years ago, she braced herself for a challenge. After all, it was the first start-up that she had joined after 10 years of working in multinational companies.
Reflecting on her fruitful time at Grab, she says: “I had the opportunity to do hands-on and operational work, such as starting the tax function. My scope of work expanded beyond tax advisory and compliance work – I worked on Mergers & Acquisitions and supported corporate finance on fund-raising.” She also cherishes the friendships forged from her regular visits to Grab’s offices in Bangkok, Manila and Jakarta.
On her most memorable achievements at Grab, Pauline being part of the team that was the driving force behind Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia in 2018 ranks high on the list. She also spent most of last year busy with Grab’s public listing.
Pauline with her co-workers at the Grab’s public listing event in Singapore
In addition to these impressive work achievements, spending quality time with her two children, Tyler, 8 and Ashlynn, 3 is also important to her. Speaking to her son, Pauline says: “Your opinion matters to me so if you feel that mummy is working long hours you can tell me and I will scale down. Mummy wants to spend more time with you, Ashlynn and papa.”
She looks forward to having more family picnics at Botanic Gardens and embarking on a 40km family cycling trip together soon.
Pauline and her family on a cycling trip
Over the years, Pauline has also shown Tyler what working at Grab is like. Tyler relishes visiting Grab’s offices in Singapore a few times. He says with a grin: “My mummy has brought me around to the Grab offices in Singapore and I enjoy the snacks there too.”
Having an understanding mentor helps in achieving work-life balance. Pauline says that the one-on-one sharing sessions with her manager has come in handy to strike that balance.
Despite working in a male-dominant team, Pauline says that she hasn’t faced gender inequality in Grab. “Working alongside my great male colleagues, there is strong teamwork, and we respect each other a lot. I feel blessed to work with them,” she affirms.
Watch the video to find out more about how Grab supports our diverse group of Grabbers to perform their best work to drive Southeast Asia forward.