Aware's fundraising event Supersonic Big Ball

By Terry Xu

Aware's fundraising event Supersonic Big Ball was successfully carried out on Monday evening with an attendance of close to 400 attendees, hosted by seasoned local artists, Pam Oei and Lim Yu-beng.

Speaking at the event is Aware’s newly elected president, Winifred Loh. She recently wrote a post in Aware after taking up the role of elected president for 100 days, touching on the strategic plans and visions for the organization and thanking all those before her appointment.

A silent auction was conducted during the midst of the event, auctioning off various art works and donated items. One of the items being auctioned off was the “infamous” Kate Spade bag which MP Tin Pei Ling was seen posing with from photos dug up during the General Elections 2011. The bag was later auctioned off at $1,600 to the winning bidder. Along with the sale of tickets for the dinner, the organization raised more than $200,000 in donations for the fundraising event.

Apart from the fundraising auction, various awards were given out to recognized individuals who have made a difference by breaking through gender barriers to help nurture a culture of gender equality in Singapore.

Awards given out this year include the AWARE Heroine and Hero, along with the new award categories of; Cause Of The Year, Campaign Of The Year, and Significant News Story Of The Year.

The event also awards out the Alamak! Award, which “honors” the most sexist behavior over the past year. The voting for the award started in early August, voting took place through the AWARE website and AWARE Facebook page from a total casting of 655 votes, the 'winners' for this award are Dr Tan Cheng Bock and Mr Tan Jee Say (nominated together) with 244 votes cast for the comments made during a forum by The Online Citizen for the Presidential Elections 2011.


Winners of the 2012 award categories as follow:


Kanwaljit Soin

Dr Soin is a founding member and former President of AWARE, and served as Singapore’s first female Nominated Member of Parliament from 1992 to 1996. In 2005, Dr Soin led the formation of Women’s Initiative for Ageing Successfully (WINGS), a pioneering initiative to help older women in Singapore. As President of WINGS, Dr Soin has dedicated herself to the mission of promoting active ageing skills for women, and the organisation has inspired chapters in Hong Kong and Japan.

Radha Basu

A Senior Correspondent at The Straits Times, Ms Basu raises awareness about issues facing women in Singapore through her news articles, focusing particularly on marginalised and vulnerable groups such as domestic workers and victims of human trafficking. Her recent articles have tackled issues like the need to provide more support for unwed mothers in Singapore, loopholes in workplace sexual harassment policies, and the struggles of caregivers and the elderly.



Mark Goh

As the Chair of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI) Executive Committee, Mr Goh advocates for the rights of foreign domestic workers and foreign-born wives of Singapore citizens, as well as stronger social support for these vulnerable women. A practising lawyer, he also offers pro bono legal counsel and representation for these women.



Junie Foo and Juanita Woodward, co-chairs of BoardAgender

Under their leadership, BoardAgender has raised awareness about the benefits of a gender-balanced business, and encouraged companies to advance women to leadership positions. The organisation aims to provide a forum in Singapore to facilitate a greater awareness and understanding of the benefits of gender-balanced business, and the advancement of more women into senior leadership roles and the boardroom.

This is imperative, given the lack of women in senior management roles in Singapore, and the challenges women face in moving up the corporate ladder. BoardAgender aims to make increasing women's role and representation in the economy something companies should strive for.



Goldman Sachs

Recognising that addressing the gender gap helps to promote diversity as well as overall economic growth, Goldman Sachs has developed an array of initiatives aimed at developing female talent and fostering a women-friendly work environment. Its Returnship programme addresses the industry-wide challenge of women leaving at a faster rate than men at a mid-point in their career, and provides women re-entering the industry with an opportunity to sharpen essential workplace skills. Other initiatives include flexible work arrangements that support women who want to integrate their work and personal responsibilities; and various mentoring and networking opportunities aimed at nurturing and retaining female leaders.



The “Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People" campaign, by The Body Shop Singapore and local campaign partners UN Women Singapore and H.O.M.E.

This campaign was launched in Singapore in 2010. By August 2011, it had amassed a record-breaking 114,886 petitions from members of the public, calling for positive change and action against trafficking. In September 2011, these petitions from Singapore, together with those from other countries (totaling over 7 million), were presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council, making it one of the largest petitions in the history of the United Nations.

The Body Shop Singapore and its campaign partners have also unveiled their plans to continue tackling the problem of sex trafficking. Their approach is based on the findings and recommendations of international campaign partner ECPAT International, and encompasses the following areas: Prevention through raising public awareness; strengthening legal framework and law enforcement response through sustained engagement with local authorities and stakeholders; and providing support and assistance for sex trafficking victims through outreach programmes.



“The Silence Of Sexual Assault Victims”, Published in September 2011, this article was written by Lisa Li for website, and explores the many areas where survivors of sexual assault in Singapore face great difficulties when it comes to reporting and recovering from their traumatic experiences. One of the points Ms Li raised was the existence of Section 157(d) of Singapore’s Evidence Act, which made it possible to discredit an alleged victim of sexual assault in court through her sexual history.

After the article was published, editor Andrew Loh sent it to several relevant government ministries, asking if they would like to publish replies, because “I thought the law was ludicrous and should be abolished”, says Mr Loh. His actions eventually helped to bring about a meeting between Minister of Law K Shanmugam and AWARE, and contributed to the abolishment of Section 157(d). “We did this small thing which happened to be at the right time and right place,” says Ms Li.

Read this article here.