Singapore: Women co-operators honoured at inaugural celebration of the movement

Over 260 co-operators attended the federation’s Co-op Movement Night

The Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) honoured women who made a difference to the country’s co-operative movement during a special event on 3 June.

Over 260 co-operators attended the federation’s Co-op Movement Night, which also celebrated the resilience of Singaporean co-operatives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event’s guest of honour was Yeo Wan Ling – an MP, and director of U SME and Women & Family Unit at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

“I’m glad to know that in Singapore, more than 80% of the co-operative workforce are women,” she told attendees. “Women play an important role in our nation’s development as they bring to the table different ideas and perspectives to complement their teams, which spark creativity and innovation crucial for business sustainability.

“Today, the SNCF pays tribute to the value and importance of women in our day-to-day lives at the Co-operative Movement Night. I hope that this will inspire more women to join the co-operative movement to make the difference within their spheres of influence. As the director of U Women and Family at NTUC, I also hope to look at areas that we can collaborate with SNCF to uplift women and spur them to realise their fullest potential.”

The event also featured Shena Foo, director of Seacare Co-operative Ltd, a member of SNCF’s executive council (EXCO). She said: “The co-operative movement has existed in Singapore for nearly a century, contributing to the economy, and promoting social integration.

“The power of women for social change cannot be undervalued. The co-operative space can be an enabler to help women to become meaningful contributors in their communities. At the workplace, we can nurture women through mentorship, leadership development and networking. Having worked for an organisation that empowers women, I have had many opportunities to offer different perspectives and ideas to others. I strongly believe that harnessing the strengths of empowered women can improve an organisation’s performance and success.”

Thian Ai Ling, general manager of My First Skool and afterschool by NTUC First Campus and a member of EXCO, added: “As women, we must advocate and support one another in actualising their potential. While it is important to hone our own skills, we should also honour and celebrate the gifts and strengths of other women too.

“This can be as simple as recognising another woman when she does something good. Not only will this bolster her confidence, but it also sends a clear reminder that she is talented, skilled, and capable and a key player at work and community. We can all take small steps every day to amplify other women’s voices and help lift them up. This can create a ripple effect that can benefit the cause of doing good.”

Singapore is home to 85 co-ops with 1.4 million members, 99% of which are represented by SNCF through affiliated co-operatives.