“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.”
– General Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary
Launched in 2008 by MediaCorp, the Singapore Woman Award (SWA) is a celebration of ordinary women who have “braved through life’s challenges, overcome business or personal difficulties and contributed selflessly to society”, and who inspire others to do the same. Now in its seventh year, the award appreciates beautiful minds and honours ordinary women who display limitless potential and have made significant contributions to society.
Past trophy-holders vary from accomplished litterateurs, the founders of non-profit organizations, education advocators, loving wives and nurturing mothers, to visually or vocally-handicapped ladies. But they all share one thing in common: a passion for life.
In March this year, three SWA honourees displayed their extraordinary work and graciousness at Grand Hyatt Gallery. Together with the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ms. Grace Fu and MediaCorp CEO Mr. Shaun Seow, the honourees and more than a hundred guests held a memorable party for the ladies. It was hard not to be dazzled by the exuberance of their encouraging spirit and the joyful smiles and tears all around.
Lily Goh, 34, winner of this year’s Singapore Woman Award, is certainly not letting her deafness get in the way of achieving her dreams. She is a professional percussionist and sign language teacher, and co-founder of the ExtaOrdinary Horizons (Deaf Singapore) in 2011. The other two nominees are KirtidaMekani, 54, a committed environmentalist, and Qin Yunquan, 24, who has trained in hand-to-hand combat and empowers women and children by teaching them self-defence. All their glorious stories of overcoming physical impairment, campaigning for environmental sustainability and empowering females are imprinted on both the dais and on our minds. It is why no matter who walks away with the award, we will be raising a glass to these shining examples of ordinary women doing extraordinary things with their beautiful minds.
With toasts and confetti, we look forward to more lives being touched by these ladies; more perhaps small but meaningful stories to be shared about their spirit and their work – and certainly the next Singapore Women Award!