International Women’s Day 2019: These remarkable women are shattering glass ceilings, gender stereotypes and the patriarchy

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day feature

What does it mean to be a woman in 2019?

Speak up. Speak out. In this special International Women’s Day feature, the women in today’s society reflect on how their lives have progressed since the day was officially recognised in 1975

By Charmaine Tai

It’s 2019. 44 years after the United Nations designated 8 March as International Women’s Day. But the day was celebrated long before it received recognition. In 1908, women garment workers in New York staged a protest against unfair working conditions. Subsequently, the US observed its first National Woman’s Day in 1909.The movement soon caught on in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and other parts of Europe as a way for women to fight for their rights and have their voices heard.

Through the years, the day slowly morphed into a more positive movement, one that honours women’s contributions to society and aims to make workplaces more inclusive. Even companies and organisations have stepped up and pushed for equality. Today, 8 March represents emancipation, unity and celebration. To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we’ve asked nine women, each a heavyweight in her own right, to pen letters to their younger selves, children and fellow women in the workforce.

Anne Schaal

Managing director of Southeast Asia and Australia, A. Lange & Söhne

“Women in charge, especially in traditionally male industries, still provoke raised eyebrows or at least receive surprised looks. I remember once, when asked what I was doing and my answer was that I represent A. Lange & Söhne in Southeast Asia and Australia, the lady who had asked me added: “So you do marketing?” Let’s face it – as long as we women don’t believe that we and other members of our sex can succeed, nobody will.”

Read her full letter here

Charlotte Nors

Managing director of Singapore Repertory Theatre

“I think we can be much better at supporting each other – at work, in the boardroom, at our kid’s school and as girlfriends. I’m blessed with amazing colleagues, girlfriends and a sister, all whom have always stood by me and inspired me. But we can do better. I can do better.”

Read her full letter here

Georgina Scholtens-Day

Fashion PR

“Lest we forget, the word diva originally translates from Latin as goddess, meant only as a woman of exceptional glamour and talent. The pure wonder of nature and the confidence that we can still enjoy the diversity of the modern workforce? Can we have our cake and eat it too? I choose that path.”

Read her full letter here

Florine Eppe Beauloye

Founder of Moonshot Digital and Luxe Digital

“Be resilient. I know that we, women, sometimes sell ourselves short. You will run into objections, sure. But they are not failures, just setbacks. Keep going, keep learning, keep loving. No matter our gender, background, ethnicity or flaws, we should not let our differences define our potential. Instead, let’s embrace them as fuel for our success. Go for your dream job, promotion or career change.”

Read her full letter here

Larissa Tan

CEO of Vanda Electrics

“There are no shortcuts in life and hard work is nothing to be afraid of. All dues have to be paid eventually. It takes courage and a great will to keep putting one foot in front of the other every day and to keep moving forward with passion and drive. But those steps must be taken in order to achieve anything.”

Read her full letter here

Samantha Tan

General manager of South Beach Consortium

“No matter how busy you get, choose to have a healthy diet. Make time to exercise daily. As the saying goes, health is wealth, and with good health, all other things will just fall in place. Go out and enjoy nature whenever possible.”

Read her full letter here

Natalie Tan

Art director of Preludio

“You’ve achieved everything you’ve ever wanted and more. But it has never felt like you’ve completed your journey. You are gratified, but not contented. There are new things to learn every day. It’s not easy, but it’s fun. And even when everything has been done, there will be a new chapter to do it all over again.”

Read her full letter here

Stephanie Chai

Founder and CEO of The Luxe Nomad

“Today’s borders no longer have the effect they once did. With the Internet and social media, it doesn’t matter where you live. As long as you’re connected to the World Wide Web, you can receive access to anyone and everything. The opportunities are endless!”

Read her full letter here

Susan Peh

Senior director of Yeo-Leong & Peh LLC

“The future for women is as promising as we make it to be. Men are now more receptive to deserving women assuming leadership roles. I hope that the income gap between men and women will be bridged as more women come to the forefront.”

Read her full letter here