It’s International Women’s Day (IWD)! Being a public relations and communications agency in an industry dominated by mostly females, Brand Inc. has always been a huge supporter of gender parity.
As the founder of Brand Inc., there is no better way to support woman than being a part of IWD and celebrate the achievements of my comrades. And believe me, there is much to celebrate. Let’s take a look at the strides women in Singapore have achieved and what I think is the real meaning of progress.
Strides Women in Singapore Achieved
Do you know:
- 31.6% of females hold professional, managerial and senior official roles in 2017, as compared to 11.3% in 1990. (Ministry of Manpower, Singapore)
- 78% of businesses in Singapore have at least one woman on the senior management team. (Women in Business by Grant Thornton)
- Women in Singapore are 55% more likely to advance to manager roles or above, whereas men only have a 31% chance. (Getting to Equal 2018 by Accenture)
- Females holding managerial positions have narrowed gender wage differential from 16.4% in 2012 to 10.1% in 2016. (Ministry of Manpower, Singapore)
Almost 90% of Brand Inc.’s clients are female. They hold managerial, senior managerial or directorial positions. Although not all are mothers, they have all shown admirable tenacity, leadership and vision to take ideas off the ground. How does the role of a mother come into play in this context?
According to Ms Jiaming Ju, Associate Director for Centre for Research on the Economics of Ageing at Singapore Management University, motherhood skills are not so different from what is required in senior management.
Ju wrote in The Straits Times that women gain important skills such as crisis management, time management and leadership skills throughout childbirth and raising children (running the household included, if I may add). Empathy, multitasking under sleep deprivation, enduring and pulling through hardship under intense pressure are valuable skills and qualities.
Although women in Singapore have achieved much through the years, there is always room for progress.
Room for Progress in Gender Parity
In an astounding report Women in the Workplace by JobStreet.com, 66% of the 480 female respondents in Singapore experienced unfair treatment at work. Family and gender-salary gap were quoted, with no surprise, as key challenges. 70% of these women surveyed also expressed interest to give up working if they had the financial means to do so.
70% of ladies surveyed want to give up working? That is high! I do not have insights into the survey but I do question how the survey was structured, collected and analysed.
Movements to bridge income differential have been gaining momentum globally. Locally, the government is building a support system to enable women to balance family commitments with career aspirations. So, should women choose to give up work just because they can? Let’s not open that can of worms.
Progress is Balancing Work and Family
Those who know me can attest to my passion for public relations and communications. It is a luxury to be able to run a PR firm which serves as my creative outlet. I derive joy and a deep sense of fulfilment from mentoring and seeing team members take off at Brand Inc., or even somewhere else pursuing their dreams like I did when I was their age.
All of us press for progress in different ways. I chose my role as an entrepreneur some 15 years ago. I continue to develop new skills and techniques, and inject meaning into my work. Instead of moving to a directorial position in a multinational company and bridging the gender-wage differential, I see my choice as progress simply because I derive a great sense of satisfaction seeing the growth and progress of my child, my team and my clients.
My personal achievements and business milestones testify to the notion that women can be just as great if not greater in many aspects of life even in the face of adversity.
Progress stems from self. It’s a desire, a mindset. Ladies, we are changing the world, one woman at a time, and it starts with you. I have pressed for progress. Have you?
Written by Elaine Seah. She wants to play Game of Thrones theme song on her pipa.