International Women’s Day - Woman Finding Success in SciTechInnovation

AMCHAM celebrated International Women’s Day by engaging a panel of successful role models and women’s success advocate to discuss about Women Finding Success in SciTechInnovation on March 8th, 2017.

We were honored to have keynote speech by YBhg Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Maimunah Syed Zin FASc, Director of the International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC) under the auspices of UNESCO. In the field of STEM, Dato’ Dr. Sharifah commented that women are still lagging behind in these areas, particularly in highest level of international awards reception.

Dato’ Dr. Sharifah who strongly believed that “when you educate women, you educate the whole generation”, women need to share more success stories, role models, to shift vision of young people.

UNESCO identified 17 sustainable development goals, an integrated, socio-economic environment where women is at its core of many sustainable development goals. While in Malaysia, the government has embarked on initiative to increase women in decision making responsibilities up to 30% in the public sector.

The session followed by panel discussion moderated by Belinda Ford, Public Affairs and Communications Director Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei of Coca-Cola. The participating panelists were Dr Reena Rajasuriar, Pharmacy Lecturer, MPharm PhD of University of Malaya and 2016 Winner of L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science National Award, Norhizam Abdul Kadir, Vice President, Growth Ecosystem Development Division of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Nadira Yusoff, Managing Director of Girls in Tech Kuala Lumpur and Chang Lee Hing, Head of Quality Assurance of Johnson & Johnson.

In relating to the International Women’s Day theme of “Be Bold for Change”, Belinda steered the discussion by having Dr Reena shared her story in achieving success and overcoming challenges. Norhizam acknowledged that women need to work harder to be more competitive than their male counterparts. However, MDEC came up with policies to encourage both female & male to get into techno-preneurship.

Speaking from experience, Nadira finds tiered-mentorship program called Women Rise taking place at Girls in Tech which helps to ensure women are equipped with capacity and capability to perform at a strategic level. Lee Hing believes that women empowerment is a shared responsibility among leadership, line managers and peers, beyond the traditional scope of HR.

The panel discussion was concluded with final thoughts that women empowerment promotes diversity and it is not about gender dominance. More women should aspire to be role models to create better opportunities for the next generation of women.

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