I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.” ~ Taylor Swift 


The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is Inspire Inclusion.   

It is no doubt that Singapore is an inclusive society. Measures and conversations such as the White Paper on Singapore’s Women Development towards a fairer and more inclusive society have helped shape the government and community’s collective action plans.   

Inspiring inclusivity for women does not start from the top. It requires a mindset of being other-centered. When women feel inspired to be included, there is a greater sense of belonging to be mindful of others. And it is the small acts of purposeful kindness that will help nudge inclusivity.   

Noting Taylor Swift’s recognition as Billboard’s Woman of the Decade award in 2019 and as a fellow Swiftie, here are three inspiring messages from her songs to take back this International Women’s Day: 


You are worth more than what you wear.  

Former President Mdm Halimah at SKM’s 21st Anniversary event. (Image Source: SKM)
Former President Mdm Halimah at SKM’s 21st Anniversary event. (Image Source: SKM)

Unsurprisingly, when Singapore’s first female President, Mdm Halimah Yacob, was sworn in in 2018, her dressing and wardrobe choices came under greater scrutiny. Quickly enough, she responded on Singapore’s progress on gender issues, having progressed a “great deal”, a significant percentage of female Members of Parliament (MP) here — “even higher than the general norm in the world”.  

Mdm Halimah has flown our Singapore flag high; being the first female head of state and from a minority community, she has shown the world that meritocracy and diversity are genuine as we embrace a caring and gracious society. 


Setting each other up for success 

With our all-women Partnerships team. (Image Source: SKM)

“But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you … you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” Grammy Awards Speech by Taylor Swift in 2016. 

On the corporate ladder, we often strive for success. But we must never forget to set each other up for success.  

It is because leaders are only born when their leaders lift them to be. Much of my success is owed to my predecessor, who saw the potential in me to take up the leadership in my organisation. 

He allowed me to grow as a leader, acknowledged my needs as a mother at work and celebrated my achievements as a team.   


Looking out for fellow women 

Friendship bracelets made by my colleague. (Image Source: Michelle Tay)

Caring for your female colleague is a simple act of kindness at the workplace. A simple ‘How are you?’ can help open conversations to see how they are doing.   

Yesterday, I was moved when one of my leaders in the organisation (a male leader, to provide some context) knew that a couple of his interns had plans to head to Taylor Swift’s concert. At lunch, he presented handmade bracelets as farewell gifts to them. In his message of thanks, he encouraged them to strive to be greater versions of themselves.   

Recognising and appreciating the team’s effort on a personal level keeps people motivated and engaged at work. We spend so much of our waking hours at work, and the little gestures of kindness demonstrate our authentic appreciation for the team.

International Women’s Day is an important occasion because it celebrates the progress towards gender equality and highlights the work that still needs to be done. It catalyzes change, encouraging actions that support women’s rights and participation in all aspects of life. It is a way to acknowledge the importance of women in making the world a better place while reflecting on how societies can continue to advance towards full gender equality.

Supporting Mama on Palette (Singapore’s first community for mothers who love arts) during a month-long art exhibition at Design Orchard Retail Showcase. (Image Source: Mama on Palette)

Let us recognise that we all have greatness and the power to change the world, one woman at a time.

Never be so kind, you forget to be clever 
Never be so clever, you forget to be kind. 
Marjorie by Taylor Swift 

Top Image: Billboard