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AWARE board member addresses workplace gender inequality in letter to ‘younger self’

AWARE board member Shyn Yee addresses workplace gender inequality in a candid letter to her younger self, urging resilience and advocating for systemic change.



SINGAPORE: Shyn Yee Ho-Strangas, who serves as the Managing Director of Data and Software Solutions at PropertyGuru Group, has penned a candid letter addressing the persistent challenges of gender inequality, discrimination, and harassment faced by women in the workplace.

As a member of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) board, Shyn Yee draws attention to the harsh realities encountered by women professionals, offering insights gleaned from her own experiences.

Titled, “Dear Shyn: A Letter to my 23-year-old Self,” published on her LinkedIn account on 18 March, Shyn Yee reflects on her journey as a professional executive, confronting the hurdles of sexism, discrimination, and inappropriate behaviour she encountered throughout her career.

With unflinching honesty, she recounts instances of being objectified, subjected to unwelcome advances, and unfairly judged based on her gender rather than her qualifications and capabilities.

Shyn Yee’s letter resonates with a poignant message for women navigating similar challenges in the corporate realm.

She candidly addresses the uphill battle faced by ambitious women striving for recognition and advancement, often contending with stereotypes and double standards that undermine their efforts.

Nevertheless, despite encountering systemic biases and societal pressures, Shyn Yee implores herself not to falter in her pursuit of professional success and personal fulfilment.

Additionally, she sheds light on the intersecting challenges faced by working mothers, recounting instances of discrimination and inadequate support in the workplace.

From facing intrusive inquiries about maternity plans to advocating for better facilities for working mothers, she underscores the need for systemic changes to accommodate the diverse needs of women in the workforce.

Throughout her letter, Shyn Yee emphasizes the importance of resilience, solidarity, and self-compassion in overcoming obstacles and effecting positive change.

She acknowledges the invaluable support of allies and advocates who champion gender equality and amplify the voices of marginalized women.

“You will meet people along the way who will succeed at your expense and belittle you because they can; but thankfully you will also meet some precious allies and advocates who will stand by you and grow with you.

“They will advocate for you when you’re not in the room and they will stand by you when you need to make tough, unpopular decisions. They will accept you and, under the polished veneer of resoluteness, all your flaws and insecurities.

“…Hold these people close to your heart, and know that they gather strength from you as well,” she said in a letter to her younger self.

In the letter, she expressed to her younger self, that she would encounter various situations challenging her character and principles, offering chances to enact the change she desires.

She urged herself to embrace these opportunities wholeheartedly, embracing any femininity she wished to exhibit.

Specifically, she emphasized the importance of advocating for those who lack a voice, creating room for those who face difficulties, and advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.

She encouraged herself to be the exemplary figure she wished she had encountered throughout her journey.

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It is not sometime that the blaming of lack of equal rights between men and women had been used as an excuse for incompetence but rather it is most of the time.

Those who are good at their jobs will prove that they are equally good and not blame a lack of rights causing them to be less good.

Sometimes feminism is used as an excuse for incompetence. If you are good at what you do, it makes no difference whether you are male or female for ultimately it is the grey matter that counts in the commercial world. AWARE may have been a necessity in the past decades but it’s existence today is an insult to the State’s progression in the First World. It is also an insult to women that they are incapable of addressing issues on their own and need an organisation. The men don’t have such an organisation.