S'pore Council of Women's Organisations to honour 108 good women

The Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) is honouring not just a few, but 108 remarkable women, from female rights activists to influential professionals and a housewife who has cared for dozens of abused children.

The national co-ordinating body of women's groups here, the Council is launching a virtual Singapore Women's Hall of Fame on March 14 to mark International Women's Day, which falls on March 8, or this Saturday.

Its president Laura Hwang said: "We want to make sure that these women's lives are documented as they are so significant and inspiring and they can serve as role models, especially to the younger generation."

The SCWO is expanding on an initiative which it started in 2005.

Over the years, nine women have been honoured on its Wall of Fame, located on its premises at Waterloo Street. They include war heroine Elizabeth Choy, women's rights activist Shirin Fozdar, who initiated the formation of the Syariah Court and lobbied for the Women's Charter, a set of laws to protect the rights of women and Maria Dyer, a missionary who started the first girls' school here in 1842. First called Chinese Girls' School, this later became St Margaret's School.

Now, the SCWO is placing its tribute to 108 outstanding women online so that more people have access to this. Mrs Hwang said it did not start with a fixed number of women in mind to honour and had pared the list down from more than 200 names. The selection panel was headed by Ambassador-At-Large Professor Tommy Koh.

The women on its Hall of Fame include well-known names such as novelist Catherine Lim, corporate heavy-weights such as the chief executive of Temasek Holdings Ho Ching and SingTel CEO Chua Sock Koong, politician Halimah Yacob and former swim queens Patricia Chan and Joscelin Yeo.

They also include pioneers who have died, such as Dr Lee Choo Neo, who became Singapore's first female doctor in 1919 and Hajjah Fatimah Sulaiman, who was born into a rich family in the 18th century, built up her husband's trading business and donated her Kampong Glam house to build a mosque and homes for the poor.

Also in are ordinary women like Madam Indranee Nadisen, a housewife in her 70s who has cared for more than three dozen abused and abandoned children under the Ministry of Social and Family Development Fostering Scheme.

The public can also nominate, through the website which will be launched next Friday, women whom they think deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.