International Women’s Day is this Friday — how will you celebrate, mama?
International Women’s Day is an important date on the global calendar to celebrate the economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Dating back to 1911, the date can take many forms, but is an important time to both celebrate how far women have come in a century plus, but also how far we still have to go in order to achieve equality.
This year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter, is a yearlong collaboration to encourage collective action to help achieve a gender-balanced world. Through the hashtag #BalanceforBetter (and its signature POSE), we both notice its absence, and celebrate its presence – in business, in education, in the media, and more.
Wondering how you can do your part, mama? From cool events to worthy organisations in Singapore, here are 15 ways you can get involved to help move women forward in 2019.
The Helper Screening (FREE!)
Helper education and empowerment organisation AIDHA has teamed up with Facebook, Macquarie and Prudential to to present a special screening of The Helper, a 2018 documentary film that poignantly showcases the sacrifices and triumphs of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.
In keeping with the uplifting message of International Women’s Day, the film is about female empowerment, shining a spotlight on the lives and determination of women who make the difficult decision to leave their families and home countries in search of well-paying work and a brighter future. The screening will be followed by a short panel discussion to reflect on the issues raised and how we can all provide further support to foreign domestic workers.
When: Thursday 7 March, 2019, 6:15 – 9:30pm
Where: Facebook Asia-Pacific Office, 9 Straits View, 26th Floor, Marina One West Tower, Singapore 018937
How much: Free!
Register: Click here to reserve tickets!
NB: There will be a second screening of the film at 1:30pm on Sunday 10 March at the Malay Heritage Centre. Click here for details.
From an all-day fitness marathon to expert wellness talks and free mammograms (for Singapore citizen first timers, with subsidized rates for PRs and repeat screeners), BCF is all about reminding women to stay in the pink of health as a means to create #BalanceforBetter this International Women’s Day!
On Friday 8 March you can look forward to six back-to-back fitness classes including Zumba, Qigong and Bhangra dancing. On Saturday the 9th, there’ll be a mix of fitness classes, expert talks and musical performances. And on Sunday the 10th, free and subsidized mammograms on the community Mammobus (see BCF’s website for details).
When: Friday 8 March to Sunday 10 March, 10:30am to 6:30pm
Where: Kallang Leisure Park, Level 1 Atrium, 5 Stadium Walk, Singapore 397693
How much: Free!
Register: Call (+65) 6352 6560 with enquiries; to book a mammogram email [email protected] or call (+65) 6933 4736.
Lunch at oh so chic Merci Marcel is an easy sell any day of the week, but on International Women’s Day we dare say it’s a must-visit: the restaurant has partnered with leading advocacy group AWARE (the Association of Women for Action and Research) for an exclusive one-day-only event entitled #notestowomen.
Guests will be encouraged to write an empowering note to post on the wall at Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru. For every person who writes a note, takes a photo, and posts it to either Facebook or Instagram while tagging @awaresingapore and using the hashtag #notestowomen, Merci Marcel will donate $3 to AWARE! Funds will go towards initiatives such as support services, public education, research and advocacy.
When: Friday 8 March
Where: Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru, 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68, Singapore 160056
How much: Free! (But you’ll need to buy yourself some lunch or dinner, or at least have a drink at the bar!)
Register: Not necessary, but click here to book a table!
If you’re not familiar with the wonderful organisation Dress for Success, mama, their mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work…and then in life. These key goals are attained through the donation of gently-used work attire as well as career coaching and other volunteer endeavors. In honour of International Women’s Day, Dress for Success has introduced Your Hour Her Power, which encourages women to donate one hour’s worth of salary to help support women on their journey to financial independence. With 152 affiliates around the globe, Dress for Success has had financial benefits for women worldwide, securing employment for 76% of the women it serves, helping 23% receive promotions within a year, and reducing their debt by 80%. This is a truly tangible way to help women in the fight for equality!
When: March 2019
Where: Donate online
Presented by Play Acting Drama Centre’s students, this series of monologues – followed by two intense panel discussions – is open to participants aged 13 and up. With panelists from the worlds of art, fashion, technology and STEM, the two panels, entitled “Feminism – a Misunderstood Concept” and “Gender Stereotypes in Social Media” are sure to be fascinating. This event is perfect for anyone who wants to create a better and more gender-equal future!
When: Saturday 9 March from 3pm onwards
Where: 90 Goodman Road, 03-11 Goodman Arts Centre (Block B), Singapore 439053
How much: $16.70 per person
Register: Click here to book!
We’re longtime fans of the badass mamas from Women on a Mission, a Singapore-based non-profit that aims to raise awareness and funds for women survivors of war and to support and empower women who’ve been subjected to violence and abuse. Each year they organise a new, self-funded campaign to increase visibility and raise funds for awareness. Past expeditions have included trekking to Everest Base Camp, mountain biking in Ethiopia, crossing the desert in Iran, and more. How cool is that?!
With all that in mind, we’re so psyched to see a short film about WOAM’s expedition to Mongolia last year, as we’ve been reading about them for years but have never seen them in action. This double feature showing will also include a series of short films covering heroic, daring women in some of the world’s most death-defying adventure sports and outdoor pursuits, including skiiers, mountaineers, rock climbers and snowboarders. This is a great one to check out with any extreme sports-loving daughters, we think! Best of all, $1 from every tickets will be donated to Women on a Mission!
When: Sunday 10 March, 2pm and 4pm
Where: The Projector, 6001 Beach Road, #05-00 Golden Mile Tower, Singapore 199589
How much: $23 per person
Register: Click here to purchase your tickets!
Women’ Empowerment Organisations
Founded in 2006, the non-profit organisation AIDHA (Sanskrit for “that to which we aspire”) provides training programmes in financial literacy and self-development skills to helpers in Singapore. AIDHA empowers its students with skills that can help them open businesses of their own in their home countries, or invest in productive assets like livestock and land – all with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. We are SUCH huge fans of AIDHA – they’ve partnered with us in our helper appreciation events from the very beginning – and we were also blown away by how they inspired parts of the movie Remittance.
AWARE is Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group, and believes in the rights of women and men to make informed, responsible choices about their lives, and to have equal opportunities in education, marriage and employment. Furthermore, AWARE believes in women’s right to control their own bodies, particular with regard to sexual and reproductive rights. Since its founding in 1985, AWARE has carries out research in numerous issues affecting women, including workplace sexual harassment, poverty of older women, and Singapore’s compliance with the UN’s anti-gender discrimination standards. AWARE’s vital support services provided crisis counselling, assistance in dealing with the authorities, and legal advice to women in need. Their corporate training division works to inspire diverse and inclusive workplaces.
The Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics, HOME is dedicating to supporting, empowering, and upholding the rights of migrant workers in Singapore. HOME provides direct assistance, shelter and free food for domestic workers who have been abused, as well as legal aid for migrant workers. They also provide skills training and run capacity-building programs – such as English language, computer, baking, and cooking classes – for domestic workers. Click here to read our full series on helper-related topics from Karien at HOME!
With a focus on literacy and gender equality in education, Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities in Asia (including nearby in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) as well as Africa. In collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and government, this wonderful organization helps to promote literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, while also supporting girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
Established back in 1980, and counting more than 50 member organisations amongst its ranks, the SCWO represents more than 500,000 women in working towards the ideal of ‘Equal Space, Equal Voice and Equal Worth’ for women in Singapore. Sounds pretty on-brand for International Women’s Day!
The SCWO has a presence within the government as well as in various regional and international bodies where it weighs in on topics relating to family, women and gender equality.
This women-led, Singapore-based social initiative aims to create environmental and social change through revitalising menstrual practices in a healthy and environmentally sustainable way. Seva Seed’s goal is to empower young women of all ages from around the world with their own, reusable cloth pads while also providing menstrual health education, including how to care for our body during a cycle as well as how to reuse materials to sew and maintain eco-friendly pads. Seva Seed began when its two founders donated pads to young female students in Kenya and were able to open a dialogue about a topic that had previously been considered “taboo”.
This non-profit organisation works towards women’s empowerment and gender equality, and supports the general mission of UN Women globally by raising awareness and funding for Ending Violence Against Women, Economic Empowerment, and Governance and Leadership Programmes in Singapore and the region. Here in Singapore, the committee was instrumental in the establishment of a mandatory day off for helpers in 2013; other local initiatives include Help Anna (which fights violence against women in Singapore and beyond) and Girls2Pioneers (which promotes Women in STEM).
Based on the Finnish concept of sisu (which roughly translates to bravery, determination, resilience and grit), Sisu Girls strives to inspire these qualities in girls by showcasing strong, healthy and positive female role models. At times this has manifested through cool adventure classes like skateboarding and rock climbing; at present Sisu Girls have published a series of children’s books profiling athletic superstars to inspire and encourage sisu in girls and boys alike.
Founded back in 1994 for Janne Ritskes (read our full interview with her here!) Tabitha Foundation promotes self-sufficiency and dignity in Cambodia’s poorest communities, through savings, counselling and goal-setting. The foundation is also famous for its cottage industry sales that feature Tabitha silk and other beautiful handmade products from Cambodia and elsewhere. To date Tabitha has empowered over 1.8 million Cambodians.
The Sassy Mama team would like to wish each and every one of you a wonderful International Women’s Day. Let’s all move forward together!
Read more: Ultimate Guide to Volunteering in Singapore
Lead image sourced via Pexels