We hear from a few leading women of business, art and corporate what they are pledging to #BeBoldForChange this year.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Every year, the 8th of March is a day that calls on the masses to champion for a more inclusive, gender equal world. That’s all feminism means – an equal opportunity for women socially, economically and politically (just ask our lead feature personality this month, Sarah Chen).

In its call for the forging of better working environments and accelerate gender parity, the theme for this year is #BeBoldForChange.

We hear from a few leading women of businesses, arts and corporate what they are pledging to #BeBoldForChange this year.

Lim Ai Chiin, founder of Cuevolution

Everyone, male and female, can be pretty judgmental and often, we fit people into boxes or stereotype according to our own beliefs. I think it is important for us as women to be kinder towards our fellow females. We should empower ourselves and our sisters, mothers, girlfriends, aunties by promoting and encouraging a positive body– a happy and healthy woman’s body.  I think a healthy body image and mind-set is important in our industry especially when very slender and attractive models are often seen on the runway, editorials and social media. We shouldn’t be so quick to judge or comment on another woman’s so-called “flaws”. We should instead celebrate it and encourage each other towards achieving realistic body goals and being happy with our own body. This change needs to start from us women.

Valerie Ong, executive director of KIP Group of Companies

I’d like to highlight the understatement of women being a good leader in an organisation. The misconception we face in this day is that women are too indecisive and very much act according to emotional aspects when it comes to decision making. But what many seem to not realise is that, having this empathy trait is highly beneficial to an organisation, increasing bonds between internal and external parties and minimising all concerns leading up to an important conclusion/end goal. I’d like to change that misconception and turn that empathy into a good strength to have. It’s about being firm without being too emotional. Being gender bias is unnecessary, be it in a work environment or otherwise, and I stand up for that.

Malisse Tan, co-founder and managing director of CloudNation

The tech entrepreneurship industry moves extremely quickly and waits for no man, or woman. Even though it’s a male-dominant ecosystem, it’s great to see more and more women join tech start-ups as well as run their own. A challenge I’ve noticed for women, are those who have just had children or already a mother. Trying to build a business from ground up requires a huge amount of commitment that goes beyond 9-6pm and HR policies for parents. Being a new mother and an entrepreneur myself, I am trying to be an example that it is possible; with strong time management, a good team and the right partner at home. We should be bold and if we fall, we fall forward and embrace the changes that come.

Datin Dian Lee, founder and managing director of Clearwater Group

#BeBoldForChange to embrace vulnerability and speak your truth. Don’t be afraid to have the uncomfortable conversations expressing your likes or dislikes. When you go beyond your known territories, you are able to reach new heights. Sometimes the enemy is not the opposite sex but our own internal limitations. I believe the moment we recognise and embrace being empowered and equal to men, we become empowered and equal.

Celest Thoi, founder and designer at Celest Thoi

Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. These words inspire me to build a small business enabling and empowering talent in the local fashion industry. It can be daunting knowing that the big fashion labels’ resources overshadow us but we persevere to hire like-minded talent who dares to challenge the norm. From the drafter, seamstress to designers, these women prove their talent and creativity is key in building value. What do I want to stand for this Women’s Day? I want to build more female talent not just in the creative space but in entrepreneurship.

Lyn Siew, restaurateur and executive director at Dynamite Genius

I will be standing up for career independence and courage to do what is seemingly deemed as challenging for single women such as myself. The global food and beverage business is predominantly driven by males and duo partnerships with the exception of a few female culinary chefs and mixologists, hence, without any discrimination on gender orientation- I’d like to work towards providing equal training employment opportunities for aspiring chefs and all those wanting to be a part of the business. Passion for food should bring us all together, that’s Ruyi & Lyn’s philosophy.