The best and the worst in gender equality
The AWARE awards return!
Established in 2011, the annual AWARE awards – Singapore’s only gender equality awards – celebrate the work of outstanding individuals and organisations that have promoted gender equality in Singapore.
The receipients of the AWARE Awards 2014 – two groups and two individuals – were announced at AWARE’s annual fundraising gala, the Crystal Ball, on 25 August. This year, we celebrated two young activists, an anti- violence organisation and a corporation with an outstanding record in diversity.
Unfortunately, Singapore’s road to gender equality is not entirely smooth. The annual Alamak! Award, given out at the same time as the AWARE award, was born as our tongue-in-cheek tribute to the most jaw-dropping, facepalm-worthy sexist moment of the year.
Let’s meet the winners of the 2014 awards!
Vanessa is the coordinator of Project X, a social initiative advocating sex workers’ rights in Singapore. At only 26, she develops and runs all the organisation’s activities.
Vanessa also advocates for the rights of transgender women and was instrumental in bringing the international SlutWalk movement to Singapore.
Vanessa is AWARE’s Young Activist of the Year for being a indefatigable advocate on critical issues that often get little attention, and for her amazing passion for equality across the board in Singapore.
Young Activist of the Year – Theodore Chen
At the age of only 12, Theo Chen made waves last year with a strong anti-bullying message that went viral on YouTube, getting more than 200,000 views.
Facing bullying online and at school because viewers of his YouTube channel judged him as gay, Theo recorded a video to everyone to stop judging his sexuality and policing how he should behave as boy.
Theo is a star for speaking up for a cause he believes in at such a young age. We are happy to name him AWARE’s Young Activist of the Year.
WongPartnership is a strong leader in gender diversity in the legal industry. The firm has an exceptional representation of women in senior management – the ratio of female partners to male is 55:43, and women made up 43% of the Executive Committee. The firm also appointed a female managing partner in 2010, and offers flexi-work options to help staff maintain a healthy work-life balance.
A culture that encourages diversity and supports family, and an exceptionally high representation of women in senior management makes WongPartnership a true leader in workplace diversity.
Anti-Violence Champion of the Year – PAVE
PAVE is a pioneer in dealing with family violence in Singapore, providing services against interpersonal violence including counselling, referrals and research.
PAVE is one of the few organisations in Singapore that specialises in working with male perpetrators of violence, trying to challenge their beliefs and introduce positive alternatives. PAVE is also a leader in training other social workers who deal with victims or perpetrators of family violence.
For its exceptional and long-standing work against violence in Singaporean society and support of victims of abuse, PAVE is AWARE’s first Anti-Violence Champion of the Year.
Our stellar nominees this year were Suresh Damodara, insensitive defence lawyer; the infamous Dr Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive of Science Centre; and Goldheart Jewellery and Scoot Airline with their sexist advertisements.
After several months of online voting, the winner of the Alamak! Award 2014 is Dr Lim Tit Meng. Dr Lim got 60% of the 1087 votes cast.
He was nominated for an email he sent to all his Science Centre colleagues on International Women’s Day, which included the line:
“I have my reasons why not many women can have the stature to hold the highest position. One of them is simply about the complex nature of women which challenges them with communication barriers in even understanding their own gender well, let alone having to compete or co-labour with the men at work.”