SCWO Celebrates International Women’s Day 2016 – Marching to Our Own Beat
Speech by Julia Raiskin, Managing Director, Head of Investor Sales and Relationship Management, Citi Asia Pacific
Guest of Honor, Mrs Mary Tan, Patron of SCWO, Malathi Das, President of SCWO, Honourees of the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame, Distinguished guests
Thank you for joining us as we celebrate International Women’s Day with this year’s induction of honourees into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame.
Citi is proud and honoured to be the Presenting Sponsor for the third consecutive year.
This year, 14 brave and passionate women who made extraordinary contributions will be inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame.
Among them we have trailblazers in the various domains including diplomacy, sports, community development and the judiciary.
About Citi Singapore’s commitment to gender diversity
Our partnership with SCWO on this national initiative is part of our commitment in promoting diversity by recruiting, developing and advancing women.
The need for greater gender diversity in middle management and corporate boards is a growing concern both globally and in Singapore. While women constitute half of the world’s population, only a handful makes it to the upper echelons of the corporate world.
In Singapore, although the rate of females’ participation in the labour force has risen over the decade from 50.9% in 2003 to 58.1% in 2013, women hold only 8.3% of directorships on the boards of Singapore Exchange (SGX)-listed companies. 57% of the company boards had no women at all in 2014, according to a report by the Diversity Task Force.
As a global company present in more than 100 countries, diversity and inclusion are aspects of Citi’s culture. We believe that a diverse workforce nurtures creativity and innovation, allowing us to better serve our clients.
Over the years, we have made progress in developing and advancing women talent through training programmes catering to the needs of talented women. We also consistently profile women to make them more visible so that they can move up into leadership roles.
I am proud to say that two more women leaders were added to the Citi’s global Board of Directors in December last year, bringing the total number of female board members to five. In our operations in Singapore, women also hold over 40% of senior roles, such as Senior Vice President and above. We also have 6 women in our country management committee for Singapore, including senior women leaders in usually male-dominated departments such as Operations and Technology as well as Investment Banking.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, our global businesses, women’s councils and women’s networks, have hosted over 200 events and initiatives in close to 90 countries.
In Singapore, Citi’s Women’s Council and IWD committee lined up a series of exciting initiatives that reached more than 700 participants including employees, students and invited guests in the week leading up to 8th March. I had the pleasure of attending some of these events, including a client dinner where I met Laurentia Tan, Singapore’s very own para-equestrian competitor, when she was our guest speaker.
To quote Laurentia, “When you say ‘I can’t’, you are putting yourself in a box. The truth is, you can do anything you want. In life there will always be challenges and things may not go the way we want it to go. We do not know our full potential unless we challenge ourselves. We do not know what we can or cannot do until we try. Take the opportunity to say ‘I CAN!’.”
As the Presenting Sponsor of the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame, it is our privilege to pay tribute to pioneering women who has achieved remarkable feats in the history of Singapore, and it is also our hope that through the sharing of their inspirational stories, all of us can challenge our own boundaries, say ‘I CAN!’ more often and work towards creating new success stories of our own.
In closing, I wish to once again acknowledge the 14 extraordinary women who will be inducted in the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame tonight. Thank you for being such powerful inspirations and showing us that with persistent focus, commitment and enthusiasm, dreams can indeed be transformed into reality.
Mrs Mary Tan, thank you for gracing the event tonight and your endorsement of this national campaign to recognise and share the stories of these women who have contributed to the success that Singapore is today.
To our partners and friends at SCWO, we are grateful for your dedication in searching out these extraordinary women. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to partner you in this meaningful initiative to celebrate exemplary lives of passion, perseverance and authenticity.