For the first time in AWARE’s 33-year history, men were able to vote when the organisation held its Annual General Meeting on 28 April 2018.
This was made possible because of an amendment to the AWARE constitution in 2016 which gave associate members, including men, the right to vote subject to their votes amounting to no more than 25% of the total votes on a resolution.
The historic AGM, which was held at the AWARE Centre, was attended by more than 50 members, 8% of whom were men. Tom Garry, an associate member who was present at the AGM, said, “I joined because I believe and support the AWARE mission, cause and initiative. It seems only fitting that as a member of an organisation that advocates for gender equality, I too would have equal voting rights as other ordinary member.”
Corinna Lim, Executive Director (ED) of AWARE, said, “We are glad that more men are starting to identify with AWARE’s mission of gender equality. They are important allies in this movement.”
Founding member and former journalist Margaret Thomas was elected unopposed as the President of AWARE for the 2018-2020 term.
Explaining why she had decided to step up to lead AWARE after 33 years of playing a supportive role, Margaret, who is 66, said: “There is a lot of talk now about active ageing but there is not enough action being taken to combat ageism. One step we can take is for older individuals themselves to resist being pigeon-holed as ‘elderly’ and therefore unable to play active, productive roles. This is why I decided to walk the talk and offer myself as AWARE president.”
There was a keen contest for the eight other positions on the Board. The successful candidates are: Jean Low, Ong Soh Chin, Valerie Gan, Zubaida Ali, Jasmine Ng, Penelope Shone, Wynthia Goh, and Kartini Omar.
Commenting on the new Board, AWARE ED Ms Lim said: “They bring a diverse set of experiences to the Board, including corporate communications, finance, community work, technology, journalism, art, media, and full-time caregiving."
“Some of them have worked directly with women in distress, low-income, and disadvantaged women, and others have mentored young women on their professional lives. Such diversity helps sensitise our work to the needs of different groups of women in Singapore. I’m confident that the new Board will strengthen AWARE’s capacity to work for a more equal, fair, and just society.”