YWLC x UN75: Overcoming Setbacks and Achieving Breakthroughs for Women

Since its inception 75 years ago, the United Nations has seen the world progress with huge strides forward in education, tackling extreme poverty and hunger, women’s access to voting rights and more. On its 75th Anniversary, the United Nations is taking this milestone to reflect, to listen and to discuss how to overcome the big trends shaping a collective future.

It is in that spirit that YWLC hosted its first global-wide virtual dialogue with the United Nations, as part of the UN75’s “World’s Largest Conversation”, on Setbacks and Breakthroughs for its members on 24 July. The objective of the dialogue was to discuss the challenges and achievements, as well as the global future of women.

The dialogue was helmed by esteemed panelists, Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and Environment, Singapore; Fabrizio Hochschild, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Preparations for the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations, Junie Foo, President of Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, and moderated by Kelley Wong, Vice-Chairperson at YWLC.

(Top, L-R: Kelley Wong, Vice Chair Person, YWLC, Junie Foo, President, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations. Bottom, L-R: Fabrizio Hochschild, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Preparations for the Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the United Nations, Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and Environment, Singapore)

The panelists shared personal anecdotes of how they achieved their own breakthroughs, gave perspectives on how, one can sometimes be one’s own limiting factor, and discussed how governments and world organisations play a critical role to accelerate the progress for women’s rights and progress across the globe.

Graphic by Idea Ink

Here are some key takeaways from the dialogue:

  • It is okay to take it slow. Once in a while, take a step back to find your balance in life. With a clearer mind and a bigger picture, opportunities can be sought and found all around.

  • Have confidence. Get used to bypassing people and take challenges as they come, because sometimes the glass ceiling that holds you back is self-doubt. Know that it is okay to fail as long as the lesson is learned and that the only failure one can make is not trying.

  • Societal family roles to be more balanced and equally distributed. Promoting both at home and at work equality is not only a question of rights but also a question of self-interest for society, families and the development of the country. The choice is yours to make.

  • Women should advocate for themselves in a male-dominated world. Don’t expect things to be done because of your gender. Expect things to be done because you are deemed an asset and resource. Be prepared to put in as much, if not more, effort and contribution.

  • Do not be afraid to speak up and stand up for yourself. It is important to be assertive (when necessary) to make a stand, to put your thoughts and points across in the workplace. Find your own advocate that you share the same values and beliefs with.

Participants and the causes they stand for

This year in particular, marks a great transformation across the globe. Businesses are not operating as usual. Life and roles of jobs and industries are changed. Now is the time to make your voices heard to make the progress needed for the future you want.

Take part in this one-minute survey, one of the five UN75’s “world’s largest conversation” initiatives, that aims to give as many people as possible the chance to make their voice heard! The results of the survey will be presented to world leaders and senior UN officials in September 2020 and this will help to inspire new programmes, investments, partnerships, campaigns in the coming years. Be part of Singapore’s voice, take a stand and join the world’s biggest conversation at www.un75.online.

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to the esteemed panelists for their time and insights.The event is in partnership with Servcorp, the Web Hosting Venue sponsor and Idea Ink, the Graphic Recording sponsor, the team behind the beautiful graphics shown during the live stream.

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