Meet Koh Yan Ping, CEO of Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations and member of the Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders community
Talk is cheap if there is no action. When it comes to championing gender equality, Koh Yan Ping has been tirelessly championing the rights of women since 2008. Formerly the deputy director of the women and family unit at the National Trades Union Congress, and now the CEO of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO), her hands are perpetually full with campaigns to strengthen a woman’s place and voice in this world.
“The work to reach gender parity is a continuous one,” she says. Even so, Koh harbours plenty of optimism for future generations. Referring to the Reykjavik Index for Leadership 2022/2023 results for Singapore, she tells us that the research shows that youths—both boys and girls—are less prejudiced against women as leaders. Changes are on track, but for Koh, it’s an ongoing battle where even the smallest sense of accomplishment means success.
What has shaped who you are?
A big part of who I am has been shaped by motherhood.
As a working mother, I am empathetic towards the struggles mothers face in managing family and career simultaneously. Having to deal with ‘mom guilt’, imposter syndrome and gender bias all at once is tough. A supportive workplace culture makes all the difference. I am heartened to be able to bring my personal experience to what we do at SCWO, for my employees and the wider community of women.
How does your work align with your personal values?
Empathy is an important value to me. This allows me to relate to the concerns impacting women not only in the workplace, but women in distress from domestic violence and abuse. We serve them through Star Shelter and Maintenance Support Central, which are direct services offered by SCWO.
What is one thing that you would like to change about the world?
The entrenched gender stereotyping of caregivers. The responsibility to care for family, young or old, should be equally shared between men and women—just as how both men and women must come together to form a family.
What is one superpower you’d like to have?
We live in a fast-paced world where multitasking, hustling and rushing to meet deadlines are the daily norm. If I could stop time to take a moment or more to appreciate the people and things around me, I would be a happier person.
Photography by Eugene Lee, Enfinite Studio
Hair & Makeup by Sophia and Victoria, Suburbs Studio