In March, Women’s Month brings a heightened focus on women empowerment, coinciding with International Women’s Day on March 8th. It serves as a month-long celebration to recognize and acknowledge women’s contributions, perspectives, and roles worldwide.


The very first BondFire Friday, was a wonderful genesis to explore the  partnership with She Brilliance and Media Clubroom, marked a significant occasion with a remarkable panel discussion on women in tech and the importance of embracing equity. Moderated by She Brilliance’s co-founder Kim Underhill, the event featured insightful conversations and experiences shared by panelists Dawn Tay, Advocate’s Content Producer, and Osman Faiz, Chief Information and Operating Officer at AMTD Digital.

The panel discussion delved into the United Nations Women’s International Women’s Day theme for 2023, “Embrace Equity,” and its relevance to the tech industry. Osman, a seasoned professional in finance and tech, emphasized the accelerating digitization and digital transformation, fueled further by the COVID-19 pandemic. He highlighted the remarkable acceptance of digital platforms among millennials, fostering opportunities for innovation and gender equality.


Media’s role in shaping gender equality discourse


Dawn, the event’s producer, expressed her excitement about discussing female empowerment and shared her personal journey in the media industry. Her perspective shed light on the power of technology in raising awareness about gender issues, citing the impactful #MeToo movement as an example. She emphasized the importance of being seen and heard in the media as a catalyst for change and empowerment.

The panel discussion provided a platform for addressing the challenges faced by women in the tech industry. Dawn candidly shared her own experience, navigating gender bias and stereotypes as a female director in a predominantly male-dominated field. She stressed the need to challenge traditional notions of leadership and encourage more women to pursue careers in tech. The reality, however, is that empowering women in tech should ideally begin during their primary education, establishing a strong foundation in mathematics and science subjects.

Osman brought attention to cultural and socio-economic factors hindering gender equality, particularly in Asian economies. He emphasized the imperative for corporations to address biases and provide equal opportunities for women to thrive. He also highlighted the shortage of talent in specific tech domains, such as cybersecurity, emphasizing the tremendous potential for women to make significant contributions in these areas.

The panel also highlighted the crucial role of media in shaping public perception and conversations about gender equality. It was emphasized that news agencies should strive to present gender-neutral content, encouraging constructive dialogue and avoiding gender biases. By reshaping media narratives, it becomes possible to foster a more inclusive and balanced understanding of gender-related issues.

Throughout the discussion, quotes from the panelists and participants echoed the importance of proactive measures, mentoring, and equal opportunities to empower women and foster a more inclusive and diverse tech workforce. Dawn highlighted the significance of women taking charge of their own development,

Change begins with individual introspection and continuous personal growth. It's a lifelong process through which your mind has to change.

Dawn TayContent Producer at Advocate Singapore

Empowering women to empower others

Before any change can happen, especially for men, they need to be aware. Oftentimes, they feel threatened by what is happening... they need to be educated.

Osman FaizChief Information and Operating Officer at AMTD Digital.

What are we doing for ourselves? A call for women’s initiative:

Inclusivity... extends beyond gender, as with all the biases and stereotypes that come with men, females have biases as well. So when you talk about inclusivity, it's also having us as women, leading that charge of saying, "I don't believe that I'm a good female snowboarder." "I'm just a good snowboarder", and then inviting other women and other girls into the conversation... and having that opportunity to mirror and to say, I can do that, too. I think that is a very big thing to actually spread. And I'm doing it in my own space.

Audience Member

The need for balanced leadership and supportive environments

The panel acknowledged the importance of balanced leadership and the role of men in supporting women’s empowerment. While women often lead by social influence, men predominantly lead by ego. However, it was emphasized that men should not feel sorry for themselves, but rather focus on encouraging women to help themselves. The discussion highlighted Singapore’s fortunate position, with ample resources and government support for education and businesses. The key question raised was whether individuals are hungry enough to seize these opportunities.

In response, the audience shared encouragements and even offered their help, one participant shared,

I see people here from very diverse backgrounds. And they all come here with different objectives, I'm yet to find out how to get involved going forward, how to contribute, empower women, and to give back, in this stage of my life, I’ve worked many years, and I’d like to be able to be more involved in helping others

Audience Member

Creating change through empowering women economically


The conversation expanded to encompass the impact of women’s economic empowerment on society. The panel shared examples from different countries, including the success of microfinance in Bangladesh. By providing financial support to women in rural areas, the program enabled economic empowerment, leading to significant positive changes in socio-economic conditions. This served as a reminder that women’s empowerment has far-reaching consequences and benefits for the entire community.


Embracing open-mindedness and learning


Throughout the discussion, the panel emphasized the importance of open-mindedness and embracing different perspectives. They encouraged attendees to challenge their existing beliefs and be receptive to new ideas. The article captures the spirit of the event, which aimed to foster a community where individuals could learn and grow together.


Looking ahead


This year’s United Nations Women’s International Women’s Day theme, “Embrace Equity”, provided a platform for open dialogue, awareness, and personal growth. The panel discussion emphasized the importance of education, inclusivity, and challenging biases. By fostering a friendly and inclusive environment, the event aimed to empower individuals to become catalysts for positive change in their communities. With future events on the horizon, the BondFire community is poised to continue these important conversations and contribute to the ongoing journey towards gender equality.

Actualizing the application of proposed actionable steps to foster a more inclusive and diverse tech ecosystem, for exactly how we could seed any of these concepts into our workplaces or communities, only time can tell if Singapore, or the world is ready for this change. As the industry evolves, it is crucial for individuals, corporations, and society as a whole to work together in creating an environment where women have equal opportunities to thrive.


In conclusion


In the pursuit of inclusivity, the panelists recognized the importance of addressing diverse perspectives beyond gender alone, including race, religion, and culture. They emphasized the significance of challenging societal norms and expectations that perpetuate inequality. Participants engaged in sharing their views during the event, highlighting the need for cultural change and introspection. Chrissie Choo expressed the importance of building a community that raises social consciousness, stating, “We all need to have that opportunity to be with like-minded people so that we can raise our social consciousness as a community… and build that good community amongst us.”

Throughout the discussion, the panelists encouraged open-mindedness and the willingness to explore new ideas. They stressed the importance of learning from different perspectives and challenging existing beliefs.


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