By Lynn Cadet

“Your story of resilience will stir up resilience in others.” – Morgan Harper Nichols. When it comes to all sectors of life, including professions or businesses, diversity matters. Representation in various business sectors allows us to feel safe and wanted while also setting an example to inspire children and adults alike to pursue careers in these fields. These days, it is becoming more and more crucial for businesses to apply these inclusion standards in their operations as the rise of social media and a vocal society calls for change and representation in all stages of the business process, including staffing, marketing, leadership, and so on. 

In this call for diversity, I believe women should be recognised for their individual effort and their identity, which plays an imperative role in their journey. I think the distinction doesn’t downplay our credibility; but, it coexists to manifest the hurdles and the significance behind our success. 

According to the World Economic Forum, it will take at least 108 years to close the gender gap globally; and, there are only six countries that give women equal work rights as men. Until we mend this divide, celebrating female founders and entrepreneurs is essential to push the message of representation and boost equality. We should not only see awards and accolades solely through a celebratory lens. By emphasising “female empowerment”, we build awareness and showcase the talent and credibility female founders have in their respective industries, especially as we are often overlooked in a male-dominated society and work environment. 

The Weight Celebrations Carry

Giving women awards or celebrations not labelled by gender can also recognise their talent. But by removing their gender distinction, the removal also erases the spotlight on the struggles of gender equality and chips away at its gravity. We may shift away (even if unconsciously) from the necessary progression needed and forget the history and resilience it took for female founders to make it where they are now. 

As a young teenager, familial influences played a large role in my decision-making. Often, I didn’t see women or many people of my race in the career I dreamed of chasing; so, I put off its possibility for my future. Frankly, I didn’t even know most of these positions existed in the first place while I grew up. So for a good part of my journey, I settled for what I learned from family as my career options and followed my older siblings’ paths because it was all I knew. As the media grew more inclusive, and I saw more women celebrated in their dream roles, it influenced and inspired me to chase my own. Learning that other women and several people of my race have successful writing careers encouraged me to go after what I wanted highlighting the importance of these celebrations. 

Reshaping The Future Industry

Generally, women entrepreneurs must overcome obstacles of inequality and maintain a high level of resilience to succeed in their sector. Often, business processes are riddled with issues surrounding inequality and diversity—whether in the hiring process, funding, or fair treatment in the workplace. Celebrating women entrepreneurs is a vital source for social transformation and bringing about change in several forms. Not only does the recognition of women’s entrepreneurial efforts open a discussion surrounding the obstacles women face, but it also helps foster a community for collaboration and mentorship for all women in search of wisdom for creating their dreams and businesses. 

Singapore resident, Pocket Sun, is the co-founder of SoGal Ventures, a female-led venture capital fund that invests only in female-run companies. Only a minuscule 2% of venture capital finds its way to female-led companies, and there are a mere 30% of women in tech in Singapore. The other 98% of funding (you guessed it!) is given to male-led businesses. As a female entrepreneur, Sun faced major odds to successfully acquire the venture capital business she has today. Before she founded her company, she often found herself as the only woman in the room at another company of the same background. Recently, she made the SG 100 Women In Tech list. This organisation held a panel, where Sun was a speaker, discussing the future of gender diversity in tech and the influence representation has on young girls and women alike.

Diversity in gender in many career paths is hard to come by. Turning a blind eye on this part of our identity is not what got us this far nor helped us to advance. Women deserve to be celebrated and recognised for the often challenging path it takes to reach the position they hold. When one of us gals makes an impact, send praise her way for her kick-ass talent, and maybe that recognition will help a little girl or a woman somewhere believe she can do it too!

We wish all you wonderful women out there a fabulous International Women’s Day!