Launch of SHE: Fireside Chat - Empowering Women in the Digital Age, 11 Sep 2022

Not being afraid to effect change, degendering our lexicon and being more mindful when on the internet. 

These were just some of the crunchy issues that were discussed yesterday during the fireside chat SG Her Empowerment (SHE) organised as part of its launch. Centred on “Empowering Women in the Digital Age”,  speakers from internet companies Rachel Teo from Google, Trisha Suresh from LinkedIn, Clara Koh from Meta joined Dr Chew Han Ei from the Institute of Policy Studies and more than hundred participants from all walks of life including youths, corporates and civil society organisations share their views on the salient issues faced by girls and women today, including online harms against women. 

Moderated by SHE chairperson Stefanie Yuen Thio, the range of issues discussed ran the entire gamut – from steps companies, communities and individuals can take to make the internet a safer place, to their own experiences in leadership positions in the corporate world. 

For instance, participants shared how women continue to be part of a “leaky pipeline” where implicit biases make it harder for women’s achievements to be recognised and for them to reach leadership positions. Panellists spoke candidly about their own experiences and some of the key policies and initiatives their organisations have developed to empower women in the workplace – from deliberate ungendered interview processes, active mentorship of women leaders as role models, to greater digital inclusion of female leaders. 

All agreed that while Singapore provides equal opportunities for both sexes, mind set shifts – starting from small things like the language we use that may be unintentionally gender-biased, to larger issues like the role of men and women in the home – are crucial for a truly equal society. The internet and the metaverse present a new landscape for girls and women to navigate. We need to work together in a whole-of-community effort to bring about an equal playing field for everyone.