LET­TER FROM THE ED­I­TOR

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - MAN­AG­ING ED­I­TOR marc@me­dia-group.com.sg

In 1979, a quota was set on fe­male stu­dents en­ter­ing the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore med­i­cal school. It was costly to train med­i­cal stu­dents even with sub­stan­tial gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, and with fewer fe­male doc­tors pursuing a ca­reer in medicine and many more choos­ing to prac­tice the pro­fes­sion part time, the quota seemed a ju­di­cious way to uti­lize re­sources.

How­ever, in 2003, as the num­ber of fe­male doc­tors who re­mained in prac­tice rose along with de­mand for health­care, the one-third cap was even­tu­ally lifted – thanks in large part to the As­so­ci­a­tion of Women Doc­tors (Sin­ga­pore) who staunchly backed the move. To­day, the fe­male stu­dent pop­u­la­tion in lo­cal med­i­cal schools has been ris­ing steadily, and many of them are re­port­edly ven­tur­ing into ar­eas that were once con­sid­ered the domain of their male coun­ter­parts.

Medicine is just one among many un­der­tak­ings where women have been demon­strat­ing author­ity. And what is in­ter­est­ing is that the list of top-cal­iber fe­male pro­fes­sion­als, en­trepreneurs, law­mak­ers, etc. is grow­ing not only with new ad­di­tions but also with the recent dis­cov­ery of past achiements of women that his­tory has ei­ther ne­glected or wil­fully con­cealed.

There re­mains a lot more to ac­com­plish be­fore women can re­cover their right­ful place at home, at work, and in so­ci­ety. Con­clu­sive stud­ies in­di­cate that gen­der equal­ity is key to any so­ci­ety’s suc­cess and even sur­vival. Deny­ing half of the world’s tal­ent pool op­por­tu­ni­ties in ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, em­ploy­ment and lead­er­ship is re­duc­ing pro­duc­tive­ness, com­pet­i­tive­ness and fu­ture-readi­ness to half.

As long as women aren’t mak­ing as much as men do­ing the ex­act same job, as long as women aren’t oc­cu­py­ing po­si­tions of lead­er­ship where they can de­cide for them­selves and other women, as long as they face bar­ri­ers to ed­u­ca­tion and health­care for what­ever rea­son, we still have a lot to do.

In this is­sue we are high­light­ing the im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions of women in var­i­ous fields – from na­tion­build­ing to set­ting per­sonal bests, and paving the way for ev­ery­one else’s ad­vance­ment. We hope that their ef­forts and achieve­ments con­tinue to in­spire us to ac­tion.

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