The search for a stronger, wiser and fearless You.
I joined Young Women Leadership Connection (YWLC) in Singapore two years ago in 2017, as there was a deep yearning to connect, to find growth, exposure and learning opportunities.
I was seeking a space that allows me to step out of my usual comfort zone and uncover new possibilities. YWLC enabled me to do so, and has benefitted me tremendously with its mentorship program, seminars, networking events and community service activities.
Little did I know being associated with these women associations and as a woman who strongly believes in women empowerment have made me become labelled as a ‘feminist’.
It made me wonder what does a ‘feminist’ mean?
People tend to associate feminism with man-hating. Quoting Emma Watson and her beautiful HeForShe campaign speech at United Nations in 2014 (full transcript here) –
Feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” – Emma Watson
I respect men. My dad who is a caregiver and protector of the family. My male bosses who have believed in me, who listened to my opinions and have encouraged me to speak up in a big room.
Being a feminist, to me, simply means acknowledging women’s rights, acknowledging that more can be done for a fairer society and equal opportunities, that there are stereotypes that undermine women’s capabilities and view their strengths as weaknesses, that the workplace system was once defined by men and can be improved for women, that there isn’t one form of leadership style and way of working.
And I must say…
this shout for change and gender equality is not only for the men, it is also for the women.
I have, many times, met women who could not see how good / capable / deserving they are, who are not used to being able to ‘choose’, who spend their lives living in a way society has expected them to. And not every of them likes.. change.
You are too loud
You have too many opinions
You are too direct
You are being aggressive
You sound arrogant
You are too ambitious
You have too much going on, boys will be intimidated
You won’t be liked
If you have a baby, you will sacrifice your career
If you don’t get married by 30, you will be alone forever
If you are a woman, and you have heard these comments, you are not alone.
And can I just say that some of these comments (I have been surprised) are also made by.. women towards women?
There is more to be done.
Yes, there are people who have brought the notion of feminism way too far.. and some ‘loud hatred against men’ have covered the idea of feminism and brought it to the other end of the spectrum. And as far as I believe, ‘feminism’ is nothing more than just a label.
It takes a lot of courage and bravery for change to happen.
And sometimes, amidst other changes to be made, I too believe that change can start within oneself.
If we can stop these self-limiting beliefs.
If we can stop these negative self-talks.
If we can stop judging others for the way they behave.
If we can just let everyone live on their own terms.
If we can choose to be kind, speak kindness and offer a kind gesture.
If we can lift others up and give her that opportunity.
In small acts and ways.