Ms Priyali Kammath, Senior Vice President for Skin and Personal Care and Executive Sponsor Gender Equality, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa,
Ms Minnie Venkatachalam, Regional Director for Southeast Asia and Oceania, WEConnect International
23 Women Entrepreneurs from the 2023 Cohort
Ladies and gentlemen
1. Good morning! Thank you for inviting me to today’s graduation ceremony.
Congratulations to graduating cohort
2. I would like to congratulate our 23 graduands from Singapore and Malaysia on successfully completing the 2023 edition of the Women Entrepreneurs Academy. Each of you has put in precious time and effort to develop and enhance your skills in areas such as brand building, leadership skills, human resources, so that you can better manage and grow your own business. I am sure that you are now more equipped to unlock new opportunities to expand and take your company to the next level.
3. I am heartened to see our women in the business community and companies such as P&G and WEConnect International working together to remove barriers and provide better economic opportunities for women. I hope that you will continue to stay connected, exchange ideas and support one another in the years ahead. In this way, we can grow together and continue to impact our community, and make progress in gender equality in the business world.
Singapore is committed to providing women with equal opportunities
4. The Singapore Government is committed to building a society where all Singaporeans have equal opportunities to flourish and achieve their aspirations.
5. Singapore has gained much ground in women’s development. For example, in 2021, the literacy rates of Singapore women aged 15 and above was 96% compared to 34% 60 years ago. The employment rate of women aged 25 to 64 in 2021 rose to 75% compared to 51% in 30 years ago. Around one in eight companies in Singapore now have female CEOs, which is the highest proportion globally and more than double the global average. Today, the percentage of women on the boards of Singapore’s top 100-listed companies has more than quadrapled from what it was in 2014.
6. We are not resting on our laurels. More can and should be done to empower our young girls and women to create a fairer and more inclusive society. The White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development published just one year ago was a significant milestone. It detailed 25 action plans to be implemented by the Government and community over the next decade. We have made good progress in the action plans over the past year, and efforts are ongoing to sustain this momentum.
7. Apart from the Government, our community partners and corporates play a key role too. For example, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation (SCWO) has been instrumental in working closely with various women’s organisations in Singapore to contribute valuable insights to the White Paper. In addition, the Singapore Women Entrepreneur Network (SG WEN) provides an important platform for women-entrepreneurs to connect with each other through knowledge-sharing and fostering of business partnerships and growth.
8. To break down existing gender stereotypes and facilitate shifts in mindsets, more needs to be done to boost women’s representation in leadership roles. This is an important area addressed in the White Paper. For example, the Council for Board Diversity will continue to lead efforts to encourage greater representation of women on boards.
9. I would like to thank every one of the 23 female leaders in the graduating cohort today for your contribution to our efforts in increasing women’s representation in leadership roles in the business community.
10. I wish you the very best in your entrepreneurial journey. As you grow your company, I hope you will share your experience and mentor other budding women entrepreneurs so that they, too, can be inspired to make a difference to the business landscape and strive for greater gender inclusivity and diversity.
11. Thank you.