September 20th, 2011

AWARE Awards 2011: The nominees

We had such strong nominations for the inaugural AWARE Awards that the judges had a tough time deciding on the short list.

The nominations for Singapore’s first gender equality awards were made by members of the public, as well as members of AWARE.

Each nominee has made a significant contribution to promoting gender equality. For the judges, the key factors for deciding of the shortlist were the effort and impact of the nominee’s contribution and the nominee’s identification with gender equality.

The judging panel comprised: AWARE board member and education entrepreneur Lindy Ong, playwright Eleanor Wong, journalist Ong Soh Chin, academic Philip Holden and ambassador-at-large Professor Tommy Koh.

The winners will be unveiled at our Big Ball fundraising gala on October 17.


Radha Basu, Senior Correspondent, The Straits Times

Nominated for her tireless pursuit of news stories that raise awareness about issues facing women in Singapore, particularly marginalised and vulnerable groups such as domestic workers and victims of trafficking.

Readers and policy-makers alike have taken notice of her work, which include news articles, features and commentaries that document concerns such as gender equality, fertility, aging, discrimination faced by pregnant women, family violence, human trafficking and gender wage gap.

Jean Chong, Co-Founder, Sayoni

Nominated for representing Singapore women on issues of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, including presenting a shadow report on LGBT issues to the UN CEDAW committee.

She co-founded LGBT activism group Sayoni and facilitated projects to give lesbians a voice. These include the publication of the Coming Out Guide for LGBT persons and a bi-annual national survey of queer women.

She was the first chairperson of the Free Community Church, the first LGBT friendly church in Singapore, representing women in the Christian community.

Halimah Yacob, Minister of State, Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)

Nominated for her leadership and vision as the Director ofNTUC’s Women’s Development Secretariat, which provides support to single mothers, lower-income women seeking employment, women rejoining the work force and women seeking leadership in various unions.

As a Member of Parliament, she has been passionate about raising issues that improve the lives of women, including anti-discrimination measures for pregnant female employees, protecting the rights of domestic workers, as well as protection against sexual harassment.


Benny Bong, Director, FamilyWorks

Nominated for his sterling work in the prevention of family violence and violence against women, especially in counselling male perpetrators of violence. He has made a significant contribution to policy discussions, training programmes and public education campaigns in this field.

He advocated for criminalising marital rape and has been instrumental in initiating training programmes for police officers on family violence dynamics. He was also the joint organiser of the International Violence Against Women Survey in Singapore in 2009.

Chan Wing Cheong, Associate Professor, NUS Law School

Nominated for his relentless advocacy for gender equality in family and criminal law. He regularly gives talks and writes papers on the subject, including a recent piece on giving homemakers due recognition in family law.

He conducted the International Violence Against Women Survey in 2009 together with Mr Bong. This was the first comprehensive effort of its kind in Singapore. He has also been outspoken about criminalising marital rape in the country.


Kwan Jin Yao, 20, Student Activist and Blogger

Nominated for his work in raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders and body image issues. He has organised road shows, exhibitions, workshops, programmes and campaigns such as Food is Not The Enemy (FiNTE), Beauty Redefined and Project WiTHIN to promote self-esteem and healthy eating habits among youth.

These initiatives aim to address significant social issues that contribute to eating disorders, and create a support system for those battling eating disorders.

Nicole Rebecca Seah, 24, Politician and Advertising Executive

Nominated for shattering gender and age barriers by becoming the youngest woman ever to run for Parliament, in the 2011 General Elections. She garnered 43.3 per cent of the vote share in the Marine Parade GRC, as a candidate from the National Solidarity Party.

She is a positive role model for young women and has inspired them to speak up and take a stand for what they believe in.

Jolene Tan, 28, Blogger and Co-Founder, No To Rape campaign

Nominated for her relentless efforts to combat sexism and misogyny in business, media, government and the society at large. She has brought the issue of marital rape to the forefront of public consciousness by co-founding the successful No To Rape campaign.

She also continues to provide a feminist perspective on various issues through her contributions to several sites and blogs such as The F word, a UK-based feminist website. Unlearning patriarchal conditioning and creating female-friendly spaces is her constant endeavour.

Wong Pei Chi, 27, Core Team Member, No To Rape campaign

Nominated for her work in raising awareness on the issue of marital rape through the No To Rape campaign, which collected over 3,600 signatures in a petition that asked the Prime Minister to abolish marital rape immunity in Singapore law.

Driven by a chance conversation with a marital rape survivor, she continues to keep this issue in the public consciousness through discussions with the media, Members of Parliament, community leaders, as well as members of the public.

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