Singapore may be a first world country but unfortunately, various communities tend to be neglected.
In fact, despite our significant progress when it comes to women’s rights, did you know that it was only in 1995 that Singapore entered the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)? As a member state, Singapore has to submit regular reports showing that progress has been made in dealing with violence against women.
It was just a year before that, in 1994, that Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew declared that the government had been “young, ignorant and idealistic” when it gave women equal rights.
Additionally, when it comes to the needy in Singapore, according to Singstat.gov, median monthly household income from work fell by 2.5 per cent in nominal terms in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This means that there are an increasing number of families in Singapore that are struggling to make ends meet.
Considering what we know, there is certainly still so much more work that we need to do to support our vulnerable communities in Singapore and to pave the way for equality and fairness.
While the local philanthropy scene is made up of many notable people, we highlight some of the incredible women who are making waves in the industry and are featured on Tatler’s 2021 Asia’s Most Influential list which was just released.
1. Dr Kanwaljit Soin
As a well-respected orthopaedic and hand surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, an outspoken campaigner and an active member of numerous welfare and advocacy organisations, Dr Kanwaljit Soin is certainly a force to behold despite being 79 years old.
Dr Kanwaljit, who was inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, is actively involved in welfare and advocacy organisations. In 1985, Dr Kanwaljit became a founding member of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE). She later took on the role of president in 1991 and held the position till 1993.
Her other credentials include being founding chair of the Singapore chapter of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), founding president of Women’s Initiative for Ageing Successfully, president of the Singapore chapter of the International Women’s Forum and global ambassador of Helpaage International.
Dr Kanwaljit has also received many awards and recognition over the years including the Singapore Medical Association Merit Award, Singapore’s Woman of the Year, the International Women’s Forum’s Women Who Make a Difference Award and a UNIFEM Lifetime Achievement Award.
If all that isn’t enough, Dr Kanwalhit was also Singapore’s first female Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) and she held the role from 1992 to 1996.