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Close Up International Women’s Day 2016: How 4 ladies are pledging for parity

International Women’s Day 2016: How 4 ladies are pledging for parity

International Women’s Day 2016: How 4 ladies are pledging for parity
By Karmun Ng
March 08, 2016

Keeping up with this year’s international theme of ‘Pledge for Parity', we hear from 4 ladies who are accelerating that effort in their respective roles. 

The 8th of March marks a very important date for everyone. 

International Women’s Day involves not only women; if you’re a man with a mother, wife, sister, cousin, basically anyone you consider dear to you who is female, it is a day of relevance to you too to celebrate the achievement of women everywhere, whether it be social, economic, cultural and political.

Here at Tatler, we have many inspiring women excelling every day in a myriad of fields – just have a look at our 300 List, which proudly consists of a good mix of men and women of all ages. 

Keeping up with this year’s international theme of ‘Pledge for Parity’, we hear from 4 ladies who are accelerating that effort in their respective roles. 

Elyna Effendi, executive director of Fe2 Productions

An impressive career, a glamourous network of friends and experiences as well as a doting husband and two beautiful children – Elyna Effendi does seem to have it all, but they don't come easy. “Juggling your time is the toughest part about being a working mother. These days, it's almost expected that you can balance it all. One thing that helps is to be organised. Stop procrastinating and just get going on what needs to be done. “ 

This year, she wants all women to feel less of the need to be perfect and respect each other more. “We always want to do things just right, and just the way they should be done. Sometimes, we need to let go of the small stuff and focus on the big picture.”

For those in the work place, she has this to say: “It's now all about how passionately you work, how smart you work and how well you work with others. It’s no longer about your gender. Women need to stop thinking about being women, and just do what comes naturally, be all rounders and multi jugglers. How else do you explain the way we can write an email, take a call, watch over the chicken in the oven, turn on the washing machine while we make a cup of tea for our husband all at the same time? This is a gift to be embraced and squeezed for all its potential.” 

Che Puan Sarimah Ibrahim, television host on Bella

Che Puan Sarimah Ibrahim is required to not only juggle her jobs as a TV host, radio announcer, actress and singer, her life is also constantly in the spotlight due to her media presence. In her 19 years in the industry, she’s had to fight misconceptions about her mixed heritage, unrealistic body image requirements, and demands for her to compromise her dignity as a woman. 

“I overcame them by constantly remembering where I came from and my family and staying true as I can to my real self and not the roles I play as an entertainer. I also say no to jobs that belittle our value and talent in pay or portrayal. It helps to work with those who empower and respect women.”

In the entertainment industry, she agrees “there’s still along way to go”, yet she remains hopeful. “I’d like to see better pay for women performers, a respect for their talents beyond the cliche stereotype roles given, and more emphasis put on talent rather than appearances. More support also needs to be given to working mothers. There are so many talented women who are not getting roles because they are not seen as having the 'right' physical appearance or social media numbers. I hope and say, let talent speak above all else, then the industry will flourish and benefit further.”

Chryseis Tan, CEO of Berjaya Times Square

Chryseis Tan today has her hands full between spearheading the Berjaya Times Square daily operations, attending to her family’s many ventures overseas and her involvement in a string of other F&B establishments. Her young age isn’t the only thing she has to prove herself against; the ambitious entrepreneur has also felt discrimination solely for her gender. 

“Women are not taken seriously when doing business and receive more scrutiny than men. It’s sad but this is often the case as women are seen as less superior and entrepreneurship has always been considered a man's territory.”

But she isn’t one to take it lying down. “I think confidence is the key to overcoming that; as long as we know what we are doing, nothing should hinder us from taking over the business world. I would ‎love to see more women speak up, especially at work, and try to challenge ourselves whenever possible to improve.”

She also isn’t afraid to dream big. “I hope more women will fill in the top positions at big companies and not feel threatened by men. There should be equality especially in the business world.”

Khoo Cai Lin, national Olympic swimmer

Khoo Cai Lin is a name that has been making huge waves in the sports arena, particularly the swimming category since making it to the Olympic Games twice. She is in the midst of trying for her third chance this year at the 2016 games that will be held in Rio and records aren’t the only things she’s breaking.  She is bulldozing her way through the stereotype that women can’t do sports by letting her medals do the speaking.

Swimming has always come naturally to her. “The only thing that is really hard are the stares I get from strangers, especially men, when I’m in my swimsuit. There was not much I can about it other than to quickly get out and wrap up.”

She encourages women everywhere to give their all even if some narrow-mindedness may try and hold them back. “I know sometimes it’s hard for a woman to do sports at a higher level especially if they are under pressure to settle down and start a family. On top of that, it is also very physically demanding. But not many things give you the satisfaction of pushing yourself to your limit.”


More women taking over the world: Meet these superwomen of F&B. 


Close Up International Women's Day Elyna Effendi Chryseis Tan Che Puan Sarimah Ibrahim Khoo Cai Lin


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