‹ News

Experts’ Roundup – International Women’s Day Special

An experts' round-up special for International Women's day. You'll find opinions from industry leaders on how to leverage data and research for greater inclusion and equity.

We are passionate about data, but you already know about this. In fact, one of the key reasons we started Sapio Research was to make everyone feel more comfortable with data… and make you fall in love with numbers.

While we might be biased with our love for data, we got curious about what other problems data could solve.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we reached out to our female clients and connections to get their views on how data and research can contribute to greater inclusion and equity. We soon realised that we were surrounded by many inspiring female leaders, so we decided to ask them about their own role models.

We’ve had the honour of collaborating and working with each of the respondents and were extremely impressed by the spectrum of answers we got to the following questions:

  • How do you think data and research have or can contribute to greater inclusion and equity?
  • Which women inspire you the most?

Here is what they had to say:


Lavinia Haane

How do you think data and research have or can contribute to greater inclusion and equity?

In my opinion, inclusion can be best achieved through mutual understanding of each other. Listening to what others have to say and how they see and experience the world and everything in it is the first step towards that. More importantly though, is understanding the why – why do others think and act the way they do, believe what they believe?

Data and – if used and analysed in the right way – the insights we draw from it, can be a powerful tool to foster dialogue, a mutual understanding and by that greater inclusion. It can be a universal language understood by everyone.

I believe that is maybe why Caroline Criado Perez wrote Invisible Women – looking at equality not from an emotional point but solely through data.

Which women inspire you the most?

I get inspired by people who are looking at problems through a different lens, other than their own. I believe that some of the issues we face in today’s world are stemming from viewing things only through the lens of your own experience or the experience of the circle you surround yourself with. The people who inspire me most are the ones who are trying to approach problems from a different angle and are actively looking to broaden their horizon by seeking dialogue and input from others – often times the people you sometimes tend to disagree with most can give you a surprising insight and new way of thinking

You can connect with Lavinia on LinkedIn.


Claire Lamb

How do you think data and research have or can contribute to greater inclusion and equity?

Knowledge is power, as they say. Market research and data deliver understanding and insights into critical topics. And that makes it a powerful tool for building plans to improve inclusion and equity. The more you know, the more you can address. For me, understanding inclusion and equity challenges both within organisations and externally is the starting point for creating awareness and plans to make the right changes, based on fact rather than assumptions.

Which women inspire you the most?

In real life, Joeli Brealey who set up the charity Pregnant then screwed, which campaigns for equality for working mothers. She took an issue that was personal and created a movement that has changed the law. She got angry – and channeled that anger to make changes. She’s now part of the UN Working Group that looks at the human rights of women in work, is an Amnesty International defender and writes for The Telegraph.

I also love the fictional character Moira Rose from Schitts Creek.

In challenging situations, I often ask “What would Moira do?” 😉

I’d also like to own that many wigs!

You can connect with Claire on LinkedIn.


Melonia M. da Gama

How do you think data and research have or can contribute to greater inclusion and equity?

There is a well-known quote about perception being reality. Although we all know this is not literally true, there is some truth to it. Perception is a lens that every individual looks through to attempt to understand the people and events they encounter in their lives. What we all need to ensure is we don’t let our perception cloud reality.

This is where data and research come in. Ensuring you include data and research in your processes and decision-making ensures you have a clearer view of reality. At times it may align with what you perceived, but more importantly, it may also clarify what really is going on.

When speaking about inclusion and equity, getting a true sense of what is happening is very important. We may think that the situation has improved, or programs are generating the desired results, but only data will tell us if this is in fact the case.

Which women inspire you the most?

There are so many women in history and in the world today who inspire me and who I draw on when navigating through my career and major life decisions. But when I think about true inspiration, the kind that drives you, it is from the women who are in my personal life. These are the women I have chosen to be my closest friends, my family.

They all bring such unique strength and perspective to our conversations. I walk away from interactions with them wanting to help others, wanting to push harder, and wanting to make better decisions…often time searching out more data or research!
These real women always seem to have the strength to give, whether that be their knowledge, experience, understanding, or friendship. They make me want to be a better person.

You can connect with Melonia on LinkedIn.


Josephine Timmins

How do you think data and research have or can contribute to greater inclusion and equity?

I believe that data and research contribute in many ways to greater inclusion and equity.

The first of these lies in the nature of research itself; by ensuring that the demographic samples we study within research projects is in itself inclusive, we are more likely to gain a greater understanding of where equity gaps lie, or are perceived to lie – which is in itself as important for those who may feel they are marginalised – and how we might strive towards a better global society.

The second way in which data and research contribute to inclusion and equity is because anyone can study and interpret them; there should be no barrier to entry for anyone who wants to go into data analytics – and indeed, by encouraging interpretation of data from different societal groups, we will gather different viewpoints on matters of importance – all of which have equal merit.

Which women inspire you the most?

I believe we can all find inspiration wherever and whenever we need it; for me, the most inspiring attributes – in anyone, not just women – are the ability to give compassion and support to those who need it; the confidence to say “no” when putting ourselves first is going to be more help than anything we could do for another person; and perseverance.

Change and betterment doesn’t just happen to someone or to society – it is down to us as individuals and as a collective to make change happen, and that requires long term vision and dedication to making little changes for the better every day (or most days – let’s be kind here) – and recognising those small changes as the victories they are.

You can connect with Josephine on LinkedIn.


Speaking to all these inspiring women got us feeling hopeful and optimistic about the future. We strive to work with many such inspiring leaders, and from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank all the women who are taking charge and leading by example to motivate the upcoming generation.

We wish you a very happy International Women’s Day!

Want to hear more from industry experts?

Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter to read our upcoming pieces.

Get topical tips, insights and more delivered to your inbox

Be the first to know about the latest international business sentiments, behaviours and plans to stay one step ahead of your competition.