Essential inspiration from Madam Halimah Jacob

Still riding high from the Her World Woman of the Year awards, and just in time for some essential weekend inspiration, we look back at Speaker of Parliament and Woman of the Year guest of honour, Madam Halimah Jacob's inspiring words.

We all know the feeling, it's Friday afternoon and tired out from the working week, it's easy to feel bogged down. Well over at HerWorldPlus, we are still riding high on an inspiration wave following the Her World Woman of the Year awards on Wednesday, and more importantly, the spine-tingly stirring speach from Speaker of Parliament, guest of honour and former Her World Woman of the Year winner, Madam Halimah Jacob.

 So, sit back and prepare to be uplifted and inspired as we reveal our favourite quotes from Madam Halimah Jacob's memorable speech. 



"We are living in momentous times. Changes are taking place at such a challenging pace that it can only be described as breathtaking.  Whilst challenges remain that stand in the way of women’s full integration into the economy and society, we can also see improvements. Women all over the world are now having more opportunities that were hitherto denied to their mothers. Women are also making their mark in society, and and I am not just talking about people like Sheryl Sandberg, but in so many different ways, some of which can best be described as dramatic."


"Witness also how technology has changed the life of women, who would otherwise be isolated and voiceless. So, new technology has also created new possibilities and opened up new windows for women all over the world. Even women in Saudi Arabia, who are not allowed to drive, let alone run a business or pursue a career, are beginning to reach out through the internet where some could do online business or voice their aspirations."


"I want to assure you that the achievements of our women are no less inspiring and important. In many ways, too, such examples remind us of how fortunate we are that we have access to so many opportunities, which have become a given in our society. Our daughters are safe to walk on the streets, seek an education, work in any sector, choose who to marry and own their own properties." 


"In every field, our women in Singapore are excelling. It seems like the sky’s the limit, if you have the ability, patience and are prepared to work hard. But even as things get better here, we know that some issues continue to dog our women. One such issue is shared parenting, which can considerably reduce the housework and caregiving responsibilities that many working women continue to struggle with. Working mothers spend more time with their children compared to working fathers. According to the State of the Family Report 2011, on average parents in Singapore spend 29 hours with their children every week. Mothers, however, spend significantly more time with their children, about 34 hours per week  compared to fathers who spend 24 hours per week.  But even as we examine the reasons why shared parenting is still not entrenched, we need to ask ourselves what we have really done to involve our spouses at home.   In order for our spouses to do more, we have to do less. We must also be prepared to lower our standards and be less critical if something is not done so perfectly. I am glad that despite this dual-role obligation that women continue to carry, we have done really well. Imagine how much more we could achieve if responsibilities are better shared at home."


"So, I am glad that every year Her World Magazine recognises the contributions of women in Singapore. Some people may question the need for such an award just for women. What about men? Don’t they deserve recognition too? Are we not already an egalitarian society? The fact that we continue to have this award means two things. First, it shows that we have outstanding women in our society who deserve to be mentioned and recognised. Without awards like this, their contributions may remain hidden, especially since women are so modest about their achievements. At the same time, it is also a recognition that we have not really reached there yet, although we are improving day by day.  We also know that complete equality is still a work in progress, something which no country in the world has claimed to have completely achieved, and we hope that such awards will help to remove some of the barriers that women face. So, well done to Her World! And, women, continue to put your best foot forward."