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Quit the Cinderella syndrome and empower yourself and other women

Isn’t it amazing there’s a day specially dedicated to women? 8 March marks the International Women's Day, a day that according to www.internationalwomensday.com, “... is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” It is also a day that calls for greater women equality.

So what does 8 March mean for women in Singapore? Admittedly, we have it good here as women. The entry barriers to achieving the top ranks of a corporate hierarchy or attaining the highest academic achievement are so much lower than women in many other countries. No one will blink an eye when we see a female doctor or lawyer, take cues from a female CEO, or do a double-take when a female wears pants or drives a car – roles or acts not necessarily acceptable for women in countries like India, Dubai and more.

It is thanks to trailblazing predecessors like Simone de Beauvoir, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and many more who have paved the way for us. Closer to home, we had role models such as artist Georgette Chan, war heroine Elizabeth Choy, medical social worker Daisy Vaithilingam, lawyer Kwa Geok Choo and many more who carved a name for themselves in a male-dominated society.

We are wife, mother, daughter, employee or entrepreneur all rolled into one. Many often find themselves doing the second shift the moment they shed our corporate selves at home. Outside and inside our homes, invisible barriers abound even in modern Singapore. Pay inequality, gender discrimination, getting the males at home to step up in their contribution towards household chores and childcare – Singaporean women do have our fair share of issues to address. Not just that, the tendency for women to second-guess ourselves and having an imposter syndrome, despite our achievements, is real.

On International Women's Day today, let us celebrate being a woman, becoming the best versions of ourselves and support other women while at it. Here are 5 ways you can do so.

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1) Self-care is health care

The advice during flight take-offs about tending to yourself first before tending to others rings true. Fill yourself up, and you will have more to offer your loved ones.

Wellness store The Paper Bunny’s carefully curated The TPB Wellness Pop-Up launches today. The wellness pop-up includes international and local brands such as aesthetic exercise gear Bala (exclusive to The Paper Bunny), daily supplements from Moom Health, candles from A Thing of Sense, organic home and self-care products from Slowhouse, a curation of wellness books, and more.

Founder Jaime Lee believes that mental wellness is not a static condition. "It is a renewable resource that can be actively renewed and recharged and improved… it is our responsibility (and within our ability) to take active steps to take care of it, nurture it and improve it. Self-care is indeed health care!”

A percentage of the proceeds from The TPB Wellness Pop-Up goes to Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH). So head to TPB at #B2-38A, Takashimaya Shopping Centre.

2) Quit the Cinderella syndrome

Tjin Lee, founder and Managing Director of an agency, summarises it well in last year's Valentine’s Day post on Instagram, “I buy my own jewellery and flowers. Sure it’s wonderful to receive gifts, but I learned in my 30s to stop wishing, waiting for people to second-guess my heart’s desires, and start doing things for myself❤️”. Check out her post below.

Indeed, it is time for women to shed the Cinderella syndrome, where Prince Charming rescues us from all our troubles or buy us that piece of jewellery we’ve been coveting. We say, go ahead and get it for ourselves. Why wait when we can afford it ourselves? There's nothing like buying ourselves a piece of fine jewellery, exquisite make-up range or luxury handbag to commemorate a milestone or to pat ourselves on the back for an achievement we have worked hard for. Go on, celebrate your milestones unabashedly.

Chow Sang Sang: Enjoy a free jewellery box with S$500 purchase.

Mirta: Artisanal and timeless fashion, home and pet essentials. Input code "MARCH15"for 15% off (over USD350).

LuisaViaRoma: Enjoy up to 50% off or get 15% off full-priced items with code "W15".

Net-a-porter: Use code "SHOPTOUNLOCK" to enjoy up to 25% off. Until 8 March only!

Yoox: Shop designer clothing and accessories. Get free shipping when you spend US$250.

Swarovski: Enjoy free shipping with any purchase.

Pandora: Personalise your accessories. get S$5 when you spend S$55.

Farfetch: Overhaul your wardrobe with 20% off full-priced items.

The Outnet: Enjoy 15% off your first purchase with code "FIRST15".

Florasis: Exquisite make-up for self-pampering. Free shipping for orders over US$40.

3) Educate and empower yourself

Becoming the best versions of ourselves require hard work. One of the ways to do so is to empower ourselves with the right knowledge. These books are chockful of life lessons, advice and guidance whether you are looking to becoming more assertive, finding yourself or hoping to lend a hand to someone else. Let these true-life tales of women become your inspiration to becoming the woman you are meant to be.

The Stories Women Journalists Tell, S$37.05 (was S$40.56)

The Stories Women Journalists Tell. PHOTO: Book Depository
The Stories Women Journalists Tell. PHOTO: Book Depository

Edited and compiled by Yahoo SEA's Editor-in-Chief Reta Lee, this book is a compilation of stories from 22 female journalists across Southeast Asia, sharing their own experiences regarding taboo topics such as gender imbalance and lack of diversity in their industries. This gem of a book is a must-have for those who wish to raise their awareness about gender inequality at work, see how women have come so far, as well as provide hope for greater female empowerment to come.

Becoming Bulletproof: Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent by Evy Poumpouras, S$19.26

PHOTO: Kinokuniya. Becoming Bulletproof: Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent by Evy Poumpouras.
PHOTO: Kinokuniya. Becoming Bulletproof: Life Lessons from a Secret Service Agent by Evy Poumpouras.

There's nothing more empowering than taking your own safety and happiness, into your own hands. Former secret service agent Evy shares rare behind-the-scenes glimpses of her former life protecting the President of United States. At the same time, she explores the psychology of human behaviour and teaches you the negotiation strategies used by the best negotiators. Learn how you can heighten your own instincts to protect yourself and your loved ones in sticky situations. A gem of a book to self-empowerment!

Also available at The Book Depository.

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, hardcover by Michelle Obama, S$32.29

PHOTO: Kinokuniya. Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, hardcover by Michelle Obama.
PHOTO: Kinokuniya. Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, hardcover by Michelle Obama.

You have read Michelle Obama’s Becoming and wish to make something of yourself like she did. Now you can, with a little help from Michelle herself! This guided journal will show you the way to your self-discovery through 150 inspiring questions and quotes crafted by Michelle. Nothing beats having a mentor on your way to self-discovery.

Also available at The Book Depository.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates, S$19.75

PHOTO: Kinokuniya. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
PHOTO: Kinokuniya. The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

Speaking out for women empowerment, Melinda Gates shares the stories of women she has met during her travels. Backed by data, Melinda brings a sense of urgency towards issues that require our immediate attention like extreme gender inequality. She boldy challenges the status quo in a bid to improve society. “Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.” Be inspired and join her as women across the world lift one another up.

Also available at The Book Depository.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men [Paperback] by Caroline Criado Perez, S$19.75

PHOTO: Kinokuniya. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men [Paperback] by Caroline Criado Perez
PHOTO: Kinokuniya. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men [Paperback] by Caroline Criado Perez

In the woke society that we are living in today, we would know by now that there are countless gender inequalities happening around the world. But to what extent? Author Caroline compiles an impressive variety of case studies and new research from across the globe illustrating the hidden ways in which women are forgotten and its profound impact.

Also available at The Book Depository.

The Book of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, $46.56

PHOTO: The Book Depository. The Book of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton
PHOTO: The Book Depository. The Book of Gutsy Women: Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Written together by mother-daughter duo, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, the book aims to show the women their favourite stories of gutsy women who have demonstrated courage against all odds. This book is perfect for girls and women craving inspiration in the midst of male dominance around the world.

A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success [Paperback] by Maye Musk, S$24.99

PHOTO: Kinokuniya. A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success [Paperback] by Maye Musk
PHOTO: Kinokuniya. A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success [Paperback] by Maye Musk

A real-life story of how a 31-year-old single mother rose to become an international supermodel. At 71 now, Maye shares hard-earned wisdom on how one's life choices in every decade of your life can enjoy the pay-off you may be looking for.

Also available at The Book Depository.

Little People, BIG DREAMS: Women in Art by María Isabel Sánchez Vergara, $43.54 (was $46.40)

PHOTO: The Book Depository. Little People, BIG DREAMS: Women in Art by María Isabel Sánchez Vergara
PHOTO: The Book Depository. Little People, BIG DREAMS: Women in Art by María Isabel Sánchez Vergara

As part of an empowering series that offers inspiring messages to children and adult alike, this box set on three women from the world of art, Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn, will make a wonderful gift to your daughter, niece or art-loving BFF.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (Paperback) by Malala Yousafzai, S$18.17

PHOTO: Kinokuniya. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (Paperback) by Malala Yousafzai
PHOTO: Kinokuniya. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban (Paperback) by Malala Yousafzai

This book requires no introduction. A memoir by the youngest Nobel Prize Winner, Malala, known as the girl who stood up to the Taliban, is a true inspiration to women young and old. A must-read.

Also available at The Book Depository.

4) Support female designers or women-owned small businesses

It is time for women to lift one another. There are enough barriers to entry as it is for womenfolk who are trying to make a name for themselves in businesses. Celebrate your fabulous self together by supporting fellow women.

Porcelain: For all your skincare needs.

Boma Jewelry: For dainty and quirky earrings.

Hegen: For baby products and more.

HoneySpree: For all things honey related.

Lifestream: For supplements to fortify your general well-being.

Glittery Garden: For photography backdrops and DIY friendship bands.

Epitex: For all your home and bedding needs.

Keababies: For all mother and baby essentials.

5) Support a worthy cause

For decades, L’Oreal has been touting the tagline “Because You’re Worth it”, sending the message of self-love to women across the globe. This year, L’Oreal’s #LessonsOfWorth campaign aims to inspire women in Singapore to overcome self-doubt. Working hand-in-hand with local non-profit organisation Dress for Success Singapore (DFSS), they aim to empower women, particularly those who struggle with self-esteem, to help them return to the workforce after a period of unemployment. In March, find out more about their upskilling workshop and donate to women in need via DFSS's International Women's Day campaign, Your Hour, Her Power® (YHHP).

Don’t miss L’Oreal’s sale of up to 40% off bestsellers, plus gifts on International Women's Day!

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