Mention “Singapore girl”, and an image of the famous sarong kebaya-clad lady comes to mind. She is a figure of femininity. One who is caring and embodies Asian values. But what truly makes the Singapore woman?
In recent years, Singapore women have redefined themselves, especially in terms of career. There’s much to be proud of: We make up 33 per cent of companies’ senior management teams, according to Grant Thornton International’s 2019 study, Women in Business. This beats the averages in the Asean region (28 per cent), as well as the world average (29 per cent).
There’s no shortage of inspiring stories. From the women who have won entrepreneur awards, to companies empowering women-run businesses; there are countless tales of women beating the odds, challenging the status quo, and paving the way for the new generation to rocket through that glass ceiling.
Many are well-groomed and smartly dressed. They’re always in the know, dining at trendy new eateries and cafes, and well-travelled. And those who are working mothers take equal pride in their domestic affairs.
I have much admiration for my mates who fully commit to this lifestyle.
But femininity today is also defined by who the Singapore woman really is in essence – fiercely independent, outspoken and compassionate. She also supports other women in the workplace. Today, there are many female mentorship programmes in various fields. These are led by women to empower other women to achieve their ambitions.
The Singapore woman is also a balance of soft and strong attitudes, greatly influenced by Asian and Western cultures. “Soft” in our belief in filial piety. We care deeply for the elderly. “Strong” in knowing what we want out of life, being assertive and making our own choices.
Our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers have paved the way for us. We should be proud of ourselves – the unique and special mix that makes us truly Singapore women.
This story was first published on Her World’s August 2020 issue. Get your copy now!