Indranee Rajah giving a speech at Great Women Of Our Time 2016 Awards Cocktail Ceremony
Ms Indranee Rajah was Guest-of-Honour for the Great Women Of Our Time 2014 Awards and returns to grace the event this year. (Photo: Angie Ng)

The Singapore Women’s Weekly is honoured to have Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law & Ministry of Finance, as our Guest-of-Honour for this year’s Great Women Of Our Time 2016 Awards cocktail ceremony on September 29, 2016. Here is a transcript of Ms Rajah’s speech:

“Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I am delighted to join you once again for The Great Women Of Our Time Awards. Over the last 11 years, this initiative has honoured the outstanding achievements of exceptional women. Women who are not only trailblazers in their respective professional fields, but who are looked up to in the community for their contributions.”

“Women have come a long way in society in the past 100 or so years, since the suffragette movement first started at the turn of the 20th century. Since then, we have shown our mettle and stepped up time and time again to prove our Rosie the Riveter ‘Can Do’ spirit.”

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“In Singapore we are particularly lucky that our girls have, for some decades now, had equal access to education, healthcare and job opportunities. Over the years, the stereotypical societal pressures and expectations on young ladies have eased. Long gone are the days where women are only viewed as caregivers and home-makers. Our roles have evolved, and for the better.”

Ms Indranee Rajah presenting the award to Fion Phua
Ms Rajah presents the award to Education & Public Service winner Fion Phua (in the back) and her daughter. (Photo: Nyen & Alex)

“In education, the local university intake of women continues to rise steadily. Female participation in the workforce has also increased*. We are a society which has women in all professional fields from architects to doctors to entrepreneurs to scientists and the list goes on. Our women ably juggle the many demands placed on them as a daughter, wife, mother, sister and a professional and go from strength to strength.”

*The workforce participation rate for females was 52 per cent and 60.4 per cent in 2005 and 2015 respectively.

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Ms Rajah goes on to talk about giving back to society in one’s own ways:

“For our girls today, I am proud to say that the sky is the limit. They dare to dream and by dreaming boldly they are able to achieve remarkable things. Each and every one of us has opportunities to make a difference and help other women believe in themselves, and in doing so encourage them to make a difference too.”

Jayne Nadarajoo greets Indranee Rajah
Education & Public Service nominee Jayne Nadarajoo greets Ms Rajah. (Photo: Angie Ng)

“Take for example of Dr Ann Tan who was a nominee of the Great Women Of Our Time Awards in 2008. Besides being a full-time obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Tan continues to give back to the community and inspire women through her community work at the Halogen Foundation.”

Indranee Rajah, Lim Wenhui and Barbara Koh
With Lim Wenhui (middle), winner of Design & Style category and The Weekly’s Editor-in-Chief Barbara Koh. (Photo: Angie Ng)

“This year’s nominees are no exception. There is Lim Wenhui, who as a partner at Spark Architects, has proven that the impact of socially conscious work is as important a consideration as revenue and profit. Chrissy Goh-Tasker is one who believes in a truly inclusive society and considered the ability of persons with disabilities to gainfully contribute when hiring staff for JLC Enterprises.”

“When I learnt of their contributions, I was reminded of a particularly impactful quote I had read by First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Mrs Obama had said that ‘When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back.'”

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“Many of you here tonight are great examples of how women have taken the opportunities provided to them and risen to become leaders in your chosen fields. Yet you have kept that innate sense that we as women have to nurture those around us, to empower them, to help them believe in themselves, to dream and achieve what they previously thought to be impossible. That is truly commendable.”

Indranee Rajah and Christina Lim
The Weekly’s Senior Designer Christina Lim snaps a selfie with Ms Rajah. (Photo: Nyen & Alex)

“As we give back, we also need to continue to nurture and develop ourselves. It is imperative, in order to stay ahead of the curve, that we keep on top of the latest trends and developments. We need to constantly seek out opportunities to upgrade ourselves through lifelong learning as knowledge is essential to keep up with the ever changing environment in which we operate and to sharpen our perspectives.”

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“Each and every one of us can play an important role in transforming our society through the work that we do, through giving back to the community and also through serving on Boards. I would strongly encourage all of you that if you are ever asked to contribute through a Board, that you seriously consider the opportunity.”

Ms Indranee Rajah
Ms Rajah wants all Great Women Of Our Time nominees to know that they are all trailblazers in their own right, and that they have dared to dream and in doing so, are an inspiration to every other woman. (Photo: Nyen & Alex)

“Tonight, as we honour both the past and present Great Women I would like to take this opportunity to commend The Singapore Women’s Weekly on the Great Women Of Our Time initiative. I also understand that through this platform funds are being raised for the Halogen Foundation and that the Forum allows women to give back by sharing their experiences and advice to others.

“Congratulations once again to all the winners tonight. I am sure that I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say that you are a great source of inspiration. Thank you.”

Meet All 18 Nominees From The Great Women Of Our Time 2016 Awards
Congratulations To The Winners Of Great Women Of Our Time 2016
“Great Women Of Our Time Awards Celebrates The Struggles And Successes Of Real Women Everywhere” – Indranee Rajah

The Great Women Of Our Time Awards 2016 Cocktail Ceremony
About The Great Women Of Our Time Awards

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The Great Women Of Our Time 2016 is presented by Skin Inc and co-sponsored by Swarovski.