TEDxSingaporeWomen 2012: ReThink

We asked you:

What should we ReThink about Women in Society?

This is what you said...

The paradox of women as super doers, multi taskers and holding up half the sky

Self Belief


The one thing is that people should finally realise that women are not going to stand down and take the crap that people are flinging at them. Women have and will continue to fight all the illogical bias and stereotypes as well as thoughts the society has against women.

Work/life balance.  taking time for family should be supported in the workplace

We need to rethink traditional feminism and define female energy more naturally


There are a lot of women who are waiting around to be given a chance to make a difference in the world. These women need to know that it all starts with them, and they can take charge of their destinies by going out there to  educate themselves and making things happen. This is not short of making magic.

Legal systems which are not strong enough to protect women from abuse, thereby making us vulnerable.

That women are not limited to what they can do or achieve in life. Women need to rethink their mindsets, put faith and courage into the equation and possibilities can be endless. Throw in a few women and there you have a collaboration for the next big thing.

Im worried for girls in areas of the world where men think they should be confined and uneducated.

Im extreamly worried about the imbalance in the population of girls and boys in some countries and even more worried that despite many people being educated about what this will mean in the future they are still pro-boy child, weird

The influence we exert in a world defined not by a 'male' agenda, but by a people agenda.

Women shouldn't be generalised.

Maximizing the opportunities available to them (especially educating younger ones about this) in traditionally male dominated industries/positions.

The stupid notion that women are competitors in business because there is still too few at the top...

Women's role in politics and civil society

Understanding the rural woman, their needs and aspirations is vastly different from that of urban women. Giving voice to the rural women requires special outreach.

I believe that women, should stop replying on their families and partners for financial safety, build their fiscal knowledge and savings, and work towards being financially independent ( & thus free) at all stages of their lives. This will decrease the incidences of women not leaving abusive relationships be it family (parents/siblings), spouse or employers, and learning to break the abusive cycle (esp emotional) and grow to be confident individuals.


Honestly speaking, I feel that there haven't been many conflicts, or such significant ones about sexism in today's world. I have seen equality for both men and women around me.


That we can have it all - successful career, happy family, sexy love-life, great looks - without any sacrifices.


We need to RETHINK how women make choices about how they dress but they are never asking for it - as in provoking men to be assaulted or raped. We need to consider the numerous conflicting messages women receive about how to dress and present themselves in various situations, what is considered appropriate. How women can support one another rather than buy into the judgement culture perpetuated by the media.

Rethink the role of single women who choose not to marry, or not to have kids.
I think one of the most important challenges in the future of our aging societies will be, how to integrate maternity into business and social live in a way that it becomes a blessing rather than a problem.

Focus on gender equality so as to ensure that women are not left behind in the process of development.

Their strength and ambition and what they can offer to society, business, the environment and the growth of economies, either in competition to men or as independent and inspiring individuals.
Women need to not feel guilty about choosing success in an unconventional (ie non-workplace) form. We be less hard on themselves, embrace that you can have it all, but perhaps not all at once. It's not about taking a step back, it's about embracing our multiple-faceted being and celebrating different successes. 


Teaching young girls how to navigate personal finance, look out for themselves, and how to become expert negotiators when it comes to their jobs and careers.

The way they approach management roles. I see many women adopting masculine traits when they're in such roles. I believe that there are ways to still retain your femininity while being a way.
How can women contribute to leadership in the workplace, government and civil society, and do the leadership models available to us reflect the type of society and direction of progress which we want?

There is more scope for values of collaboration, trust and vision in all these spheres. 
Women should be allowed to be a mother and an executive without having to sacrifice either role because of the lack of consideration in the workplace or understanding in family unit

As well covered as it may be, I believe we should continue to rethink the role of women in the corporate workplace. Particularly in the industries that I have worked in and in the legal industry which I am currently working in, it's evident that women continue to struggle with the notion of work life balance and maintaining a committed and vibrant career. There is definitely an absence of women at the higher levels (particularly in Asia where client responsiveness is highly valued) and a shift in thinking amongst employers is required.

Within my cultural well traveled, educated and exposed women are often thought of as unruly, too independant and not pliable. We should rethink this and understand the need to push for education, for independance and for exposure to cultures other than our own and places that aren't home.


Their perseverance.

Investment in girl's education is the single most important investment that can be made to turn oppression into opportunity for women worldwide.


To see the society as a strength and not a vulnerability

I think women in general can be very self-critical and sometimes their own worst enemy.


There is always a constant battle of finding the right work/life balance, especially when it comes to being a working mother.

Women in the home and in the business world sometimes to tend to lack self-confidence and a belief in themselves.

So the one thing I think we should rethink is how to help women be confident,  find strength in themselves and encourage them to strive for whatever success they have their eyes set on.

Women are born leaders. It's time that women get more representation in leadership roles across sectors, without being looked at as having lost their femininity.


Self identity and self image -- many women today, despite their numerous successes and achievements, still have issues regarding self worth and self love.

Personal growth and confidence building -- we need a community to foster this.

The role of women in society is being re-invented everyday. With increasing independence, education and equality, women today are expected to fulfill a multitude of roles - and make it look good. Women in society should mutually support each other and any tendency to bring each other down should be consciously eradicated from out attitudes.

That for women to operate effectively in society, they have to be something other than women. They can be very useful and indeed crucial in society by being who they are. In fact, that is where their power comes from.

Women have different positive attributes to add to companies and governments than men do. We should not force women to fit themselves into the mold that has been created by previous male leaders that went before them. Society should encourage women to embrace their femininity and use their unique characteristics in work and in leading.


What we need to rethink about women in society is that we are not weak. We are motivated. We see an equality in our future, and it's bright.


Our ability to make classic trade offs in work/life balance.

How women's roles in society are changing, and how we can empower all women to take responsibility.

Women's place in the work place...taking time off to have children should not signal the death of a career.  We need to be more flexible in our working practices, particularly in Asia but also beyond, to enable women to work but also spend valuable time with their families.


Especially in Asia, women are not really regarded as equals to men in terms of what they are "allowed" to achieve. There is just way too much pressure to be married and have a family, rather than pursue what they are passionate about. It's even sadder that once women do get married and have a family, they are not regarded as equally capable at work and it's just assumed that they must be more focussed on family than work.

The fundamental discussion of "women want it all" and also how the male role models have to help the way we see family life and how women are making that change happen (or not) in their role of mothers, wives, educators, friends


"Moving beyond the narrower vision of woman simply wanting equality.  Evolving the way of defining woman in society by their contribution and their talent first. "

Trying to be everything - mother, sister, daughter, wife, homemaker, breadwinner - we over stretch ourselves.

The balance between their personal life vs work


Are all women really willing and ready to rethink?


Freedom of choices in life and love

We should never think that we ever need to prove anything because of our gender but only because of women as individuals. It should be a given rather than an issue.

Women should have the same rights as men and be able to receive the highest level of education everywhere in the world.





Women as entrepreneurs in non-traditional industries.

I believe we should rethink the role of modern women in the developed world  and how we should use our position to advance the welfare of women in less developed countries. I think the biggest issue for us is apathy, while we have the means to fight for greater good, many women have more often refuse to see the sufferings in other areas. The developing world urgently needs us. They need abled women to take the lead role in helping women in less developed areas in one way or another. While our efforts may look small but it doesn’t mean change can’t happen. I sorely believe that women in this society should not rest on our laurels, while the feminist movement is over; there are millions out there who are still enslaved, tortured and bullied because of her gender.  And this needs to change.


That women can't have it all


Woman today are expected to have a career, be a mother to her children and loving wife to her husband and more. Do women today really have it all or nothing at all?

Worklife balance of both mothers and fathers

I believe we should rethink about our role in society, that women are capable of doing so much more. That how can we speak up more for what we believe in, what we stand for, how can we contribute more.

There is no use making statements how society ought to rethink its view on women. Social conventions will mean nothing to women once we find something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. We might fail, we might get lost, but it's only a matter of time before we get what justifiably want.


Women to believe in themselves.

Many women today have achieved much more than women from previous generations. However, with all the achievements under our names, what is then the role we are born to be. Can we have it all - family, friends, health, travel, wealth, volunteering, etc?


if the women are really weaker


Equality of men and women

Being change leaders - mothers, teachers, nurses - we are nurturers but we can also be change leaders. Women are more likely to be sufferers of Alzheimer's. What can we do today that would safeguard the future of a exploding population of Alzheimer's sufferers?

The fundamental belief that STILL permeates so many attitudes, actions and policies globally that women are 'emotionally weaker' - ruled by our emotions and therefor less capable of rational well balanced decision making. Women also believe it about women sadly...

That equality is here...because there's still so much more we need to do...

Following the example of Iceland, I believe women should really take over political and economic issues, simply because it's proven that we are more responsible and less egotistical than men!

"A lot of the narrative around the advancement of women in society contains a strong hint of being in competition with men. A move from this competition mode into fully embracing the strength (vulnerability) and the beauty of the feminine energy will take us forward in great strides."

About middle aged women returning to the workforce.


There should be more women in top management positions


"That we have any restrictions. Women are known to be mentally and emotionally stronger than men - as the Chinese say it's 'women who hold up the sky'.

However i think often women are our own worst enemy by having a chip on our shoulder about

What do women "owe" their society? No doubt we all have certain debts or expectations to meet, but it's hardly ever discussed openly, even though the expectations have greatly changed in the last 10 years. Definitely idea worth rethinking.

Once upon a time gender was not defined biologically, but by profession and character. Men could be maternal, women could be brave and arrogant. Why do we confine traits and characteristics to a biological feature, when there is abundant prove that the difference between men among men and women among women is far greater than the difference between men and women?

Although I do agree that our global society has not progressed enough to be able to leave the issue of women's rights as it is, I do feel that there are times when too much emphasis is being placed on women's rights e.g. when a woman gets a high power position, there is too much hoo-ha surrounding it and praise the woman gets because she goes against the odds to get the position. There is also a possibility that this constant focus on women's rights will prevent us from progressing from where we are now.

The notion that women have an expiry date - the saying that women age like milk and men like fine wine - and need to complete the 'cycle of life' before they become... saggy.

We should rethink that women are followers instead of leaders, to be able to remain strong and empower more people


Highlight women's resilience in life challenges and how we can balance societal expectations of us.

Women in leadership positions and the strengths of women as leaders in the society.

There should be greater collaboration and mentorship among women. There is an extreme lack of great female role models, which makes the proverbial glass ceiling more challenging to demystify.

The ability to earn financial independence and even freedom is limited.


"We should pay more attention to the way we educate our children.

According to a study made in US in 2011, before the age of 7 years old, the same average of boys anf girls say they'd like to become President of the United States, after 12 years old, only 7 % of girls say that's what they want to do.

The image of women through media is also playing a big role, I saw Missrepresentation, and I was shocked by what we all let happen."

I believe that we need to rethink about how our role in society has changed in the last 10-20 years. Additionally, I think that we need to be prepared to take on more challenges and opportunities and keep striving to be the best that we can be.


Men and Women can never be equal.


That said, it doesn't mean we're less capable than men, so how can we bridge that divide, in terms of ranking, pay, respect etc? Just because a man doesn't have to go through monthly cycles of mood swings and 9 months of pregnancy does not make him superior. "

Greater woman leadership


More opportunities for women to assume leadership roles. In both the government and private sector, things are beginning to evolve and involve more opportunities for women to bring their own blend of change management.

We are as valuable as men and certainly should have the same rights, but we are definitely different. Instead of fighting for equality in all senses, let's recognise, respect and embrace those differences.

One thing I believe that we should rethink is that women, in society, are an equal to men as it is not the case. There are still many aspects in society that women are still being discriminated against.

I believe 2 key challenges need to be addressed for women. The first is the perception that they're inherently weak. The second is stereotypes surrounding them - that areas such as cosmetics, creative arts or music are best suited for women. I face this while working in an industry that has been and is very male dominated. The perception of inherent weakness is especially prevalent in developing nations such as India, where I face this in passing remarks from all segments of the society - be it my maid or a senior professor.

Women are more empowered than we usually think we are: our will is alot stronger, our tolerance for pain and suffering is alot deeper than most men, and our tenderness is alot more valuable rather than seeing it as a weakness. Women can contribute positive improvements and can make wise & authoritative decisions both at home and in the workplace.

That we are "sandwiched" - We don't have to strive to have everything. The striving from everyone just becomes a form of pressure to become someone when, all you have to be, is really yourself.


Don't be everyone, just be you.



Women lead maker's revolution.

Enjoy what we have achieved, best gift to those around us.

We need to think outside of the box on ways to make it easier for Women to reach the Boardroom. e.g creative government policies around childcare provision and flexible working.

 The next time a recruiter ask me  - AGAIN- about my husband 's professional situation or how do I consider about my  work motivation as a mother, I should think  that there is is still certainly is  ONE or TWO big things  that should rethink about Men in Society....

Perhaps the most obvious intrinsic value in us that has to do with women is prejudice. There is no women's rights or discrimination against women, because the agreement to such a term defeats the purpose of eliminating it. Therefore, we should rethink the way we are viewing every problematic issue revolving women in society today. Has the unnecessary attention become the problem instead?

I believe it is their influence as I feel that women in society today have their influence  generally underestimated . This is likely due to world leaders , espescially politically, being men . This  may potray them having stronger influence to the human condition than women, which is untrue as influence is unconditional to gender.

We need to learn to embrace what we are truly capable of achieving and learning to look beyond comfort zones and what society perceives women can or cannot achieve. Continue pushing boundaries, one step at a time :P

Self respect. Respect one's body and have the power to contribute for self growth and be a good example to our future daughters to live with the right values and self respect. Not an object/showpiece.


"Values - fundamental values - especially in the developed countries. Empowerment = in developing countries"

The belief that women cannot juggle high flying careers with their family responsibilities. I do hope that more women will occupy top roles in politics and corporate world in the future, and serve as role models too.



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TEDxSingaporeWomen 2012 here: www.TED.com/tedx/events/6906


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