international women’s day: female figures who inspire us.

21/03/2018 12:27:16

According to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum,  Malaysia ranked 104 out of 144 countries across 14 indicators in four fundamental categories - Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival and Political Empowerment. Unfortunately, these results are alarming and there is clearly more to be done to make sure that we are narrowing the disparity between males and females to make equality a reality. 

Gender equality in the workplace and the recruitment environment is extremely important to us. In our daily interactions with our candidates and clients, we help women advance in their careers and become role models in their own way. In fact, each of us has our own role model whom we look up to. She is empowered, relentless, strong and most important of all, she is a visionary. She is you. 

We wanted to find out more about the female role models who inspired our coworkers to become the person they are today, so we asked them: which female figure do you look up to most (dead or alive) and what qualities does she have that inspire you the most? 

here’s what they told us: 

The female whom I look up to the most is my mother - Mdm. Leong. It may sound cheesy but she has been the pillar of strength that got me to where I am today. I grew up in a single parent family, so she has always been the role model for me since young, loving my brother and me unconditionally. 

To everyone else, she is just doing her job as a mother. However to me, she sets my foundation and defines the core of who I am. My mother taught me that it is important to be honest, respectable and accountable for my actions because that is who she is. 

Above all, I believe the one thing that she has really impacted me is telling me to dream big. She cared for me more than I ever thought she could.

“If you never chase your dreams, you will never catch them.” 

- Sandy Tam, Marketing Manager, Randstad Malaysia

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The female whom I look up to the most is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg is the second female justice ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court who is best known for advancing women's legal rights. 

What I'm most inspired by is her tenacity and determination to fight for equal rights, not just for females but also for men and other minorities. She has a brilliant, analytical and strategic mind. She did not settle for the status quo and saw a different court run by women and men of different backgrounds who could bring diversity to justice. She has the courage to go where others wouldn't and take a leap of faith to help when no one would. 

- Natasha O'Brien, Business Concepts & Client Solutions Director, Randstad Hong Kong

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Many people have seen Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone) in the movie - Battle of the Sexes. When I think about King, I think about the achievements she has had with the 20 Wimbledon titles she has won and the sweat and devotion she would have needed to get there. 

However, this is not the only reason why I think she is a great role model. Her determination and righteousness, which were reflected in her famous tournament against Bobby Riggs in 1973, raised the bar for women's rights. She persevered in the battle of the sexes and strived for females to be treated as equals. It was a time when we needed people like Billie Jean King to stand up and speak up. Without role models like her, we would never be one step closer towards equality even though it is still a battle we continue to fight. 

She inspired me to step up for true equal rights and taught me not to simply accept things for the way they are. She motivates us to be courageous in our lives - especially when we are tempted to shy away from the limelight or are worried about backlash. If she could do this under such immense pressure, should we not live up to our role models and follow their footsteps to speak up, do the right thing and be brave? -

- Natellie Sun, Country Director, Randstad Hong Kong

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Gail Kelly was the first female CEO of a major Australian bank back in 2002. Three years later, Kelly was the highest-paid woman in an Australian corporation. In 2010, she was ranked the eighth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes and Fortune named her the most powerful woman in Asia Pacific in 2014.

What impressed me so much about Gail Kelly is not only that she shattered the glass ceiling of the corporate world in Australia through her outstanding professional achievements, but also her ability to balance work and family at the same time (she is a mother to four children - including triplets!).

"As a woman, you have to make choices with regard to your life and your career. There is no doubt it’s hard. I myself have four children, so my life is very full. You make choices with regard to how you prioritise, and how you manage your whole life, but again, the keys to one’s success are loving what you do, being very happy in what you do, enjoying working with people, prioritising and being focused on what matters. I prioritise my whole life, not just my work life."

- Josh Border, Director, Sales & Marketing, Communications, HR & Business Support, Randstad Singapore

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Michelle Obama personifies “belief” for me. She is exceptionally clear about the causes she supports and exactly why she believes in them. In a world today where peripheral noise is the norm, such laser-like focus and unrelenting drive to fight for her beliefs is inspiring.

Yet there is finesse in the way Michelle Obama conducts herself in her pursuits. Never one to slam the opposition, she finds the good in what she is pushing for and educates the people who will listen. Her ability to maintain her composure in every situation is something that I truly admire.

Lastly, she’s an inspiration to me because of what she believes in. She has always maintained that the possibilities are endless as long as you believe in yourself. I fully believe that too, and in her words, “Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude”.

- Mark Li, Client Solutions Director, Randstad Singapore