Aware elects new board members - including president - at weekend AGM

Ms Teh Hooi Ling took over as president of gender advocacy group Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).
Ms Teh Hooi Ling took over as president of gender advocacy group Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware).PHOTO: COURTESY OF MS TEH HOOI LING

SINGAPORE - Gender advocacy group Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) on Saturday (April 23) saw one of its most keenly contested board elections since it was formed 31 years ago.

At the group's annual general meeting, 13 women vied for nine board positions. Ms Winifred Loh, who was its president for four years, handed over her position to Ms Teh Hooi Ling, a former financial journalist and current partner of fund management firm Aggregate Asset Management.

Other board members include newly appointed vice-presidents: Ms Louise Tagliante and Ms Ranjana Raghunathan, Aware said in a press release on Monday.

Ms Loh, who is also the managing director of Centre for Non-profit Leadership, said: "Nobody is born to be an Aware president, but every woman can aspire to be one.

"As the board, our role is to provide governance and oversight, so that all of us can stay focused on making a difference in women's lives in Singapore."

Ms Margaret Thomas, one of Aware's founding members, who remains active in the organisation, noted the milestones that have been reached by the its team of professional staff and volunteers in the past three decades.

She said: "We formed Aware in 1985 because we saw a need for research-informed advocacy in Singapore. For the founding members, it's immensely gratifying to know that what we started is today one of Singapore's leading civil society organisations."

In 2015, social enterprise Just Cause Asia recommended Aware as one of its top four charities to donate to, according to surveys of staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and partners, and based on a review of finances and other key documents of each organisation.

Similarly, the results of a public value survey about Aware, conducted in the first quarter of last year by consultancy firm Brightpurpose, and involving interviews with 24 stakeholders who have experience with Aware's work, found that respondents value its influence on policy and legislation, and its role in taking public stands.

Said Ms Teh: "We will continue to bring up, at times uncomfortable, discussions, in a bid to achieve our vision of a society where there are no gender barriers, where no one is disadvantaged because of their gender and where everyone is able to develop their potential to the fullest.

"We have made good progress, but there remains a lot of work to be done."