In celebration of Women’s day, HR information platform Swingvy organised an event called “21st Century Women”.
The event had a storytelling exhibition and a panel discussion with some of Malaysia’s inspiring entrepreneurs, leaders and tastemakers. It was held at Common Ground KL33 in Kuala Lumpur on March 7.
In collaboration with homegrown photographer Catherhea Teoh, 21st Century Women showcased 100 women portraits to celebrate women entrepreneurs from different industries.
The photo exhibition hopes to emphasise on connecting diverse modern everyday women across all industries through their remarkable stories and photographed portraits.
“Our intention wasn’t to simply focus on successful and powerful women, but to highlight the diversity and authenticity of real women with real stories and experiences. With this 100 women portraits, both Swingvy and Catherhea Teoh aim to inspire and empower women in their professional pursuits and life experiences,” says Melly Ling, Brand Manager at Swingvy.
The panel of discussion titled “Women In Business” included: Anne Idris, the founder and CEO of My Mum’s Bakery; Izra Izzudin, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Firefly; Kristal Soraya Lee, CEO of CSP Global Technologies; Lennise Ng Co-Founder and CEO of Dropee; and Yvonne Lee Country Head of Common Ground.
Stereotypes Of The Industries
As the panelists came from different backgrounds, most of them encountered different sorts of stereotypes towards women while some mentioned that there weren’t any.
Izra Izzudin of Firefly said that on behalf of the airline industry she wanted to point out about the stereotyping of female pilots.
“What’s with it when people see female captains? I really hate it when people ask ‘do you feel safe that a lady captain is flying you?’” she said.
She hopes people would give a chance for females to be pilots as well and not to stereotype that the job belongs only to men.
As for Yvonne Lee of Common Ground, she said that the stereotype found in coworking spaces are that a lot of people think that people who work in coworking spaces are mainly tech guys.
“I would like to say that’s not true, because in our industry we’ve seen a lot of female entrepreneurs coming up,” explained Yvonne.
As a woman working in the IT industry, Kristal Soraya Lee of CSP Technologies said that there is definitely a lot of stereotyping in the industry, however nowadays thanks to the leaders out there, the perception towards women has changed completely.
For Lennise Ng of Dropee, she believes that there is no such misconception or stereotyping of women in her industry as according to her nobody would even think that being a woman leader is an issue.
Whereas she added that the misconception comes from within oneself.
“The moment when you channel it is when you start creating this environment where you think it’s a problem,” she added.“I think there is a lot of space for us to actually grow, but first and foremost, is to break away from that mindset that there is such a misconception.”
Changing The Narrative
“There is no longer so much stigma or challenges or stereotyping. In today’s world it’s very common for females to be out there to stand up, to speak out, the only challenge is actually within yourself,” explained Yvonne.
Lennise also mentioned that entrepreneurs—no matter what gender—should always focus and reflect on themselves.
“Do you enjoy what you do, do you find purpose in what you do, do you find inspiration, can you contribute to the society and community?” These are some of the questions that she mentioned that one should ask upon reflection.
She believes that this level of self-reflection and pure honesty is extremely needed for anybody who wants to be an entrepreneur out there.
Izra ended the session by adding that women shouldn’t compete with men but rather work together.
“When it comes to men, do not ever compete with them, because no one is competing with anyone right now, we’re all making it, we’re all trying to live our lives.”
You can read more about our coverage on Women’s Day interviewing Malaysian lady bosses for their experience as leaders in the tech industry.
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Feature Image Credit: Swingvy