Style, Interview

Three Women on Their Reality of Fair Treatment

 
Three Women on Their Reality of Fair Treatment


Three women working in industries dominated by men share their reality of fair treatment together with Ermenegildo Zegna as the Italian house renews their vision of #WHATMAKESAMAN through the lens of a loved one.

Shelley Tai, Bartender



Three Women on Their Reality of Fair Treatment


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What spurred you to be a bartender?
At the time I was young, really just needed a job and figured this would have been fun to do.

The bartending industry is traditionally male dominated, what are some challenges you faced as a female bartender?
I think aside from some physical constraints when it comes to work, it’s usually people who tend to not expect much from you.

How do you deal with such issues?
For me personally I used it to my advantage and kept my head down while learning more about the job on duty and then researching outside of the job as well.

How do you feel about more women having a career typically dominated by men?
I think it’s a great thing to see more women making waves in the recent years and I hope it paves the way for future generation of females to push alongside men in various industry.

What does equality mean to you?
For me, equality means being treated fairly regarding pay, expectation of work quality and having the same opportunity. I would have to say my boyfriend has been very supportive of me in my career in the past few years.

If you could write a short note of appreciation to him, what would it be?
Thank you for being such an inspiration, and always pushing me to be a better version of myself.

A word of advice to aspiring female bartenders.
I would say to believe in what they’re doing and always do their best; always ask “how can I do that” instead of saying “I cannot do that” because of whatever reason.


Nurul Suhaila, Professional Athlete




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What spurred you to be a professional athlete?

I’ve always loved how sports in general builds character. My passion for the sport grew when I won my first match. I became addicted to the feeling of winning and wanted to be the best at it from then on. I knew that becoming a full-time athlete would allow me to achieve that.

Sports is said to be one of the most prelavent areas where gender bias is presented, what are some challenges you faced being a female professional athlete?
Personally, I feel that I’ve been given equal rights and opportunities as a female fighter in Singapore. There are definitely stereotypes though, whether it is in the arena or not. Women are often underestimated and have their feelings invalidated.

How do you deal with such issues?
I allow myself to process negative emotions, but I often choose to not react and remain unfazed. I know that at the end of the day, as long as I work hard, my achievements will speak for itself.

How do you feel about more women having a career typically dominated by men?
It makes me feel seen, because I know that I’m not alone in my struggles. It’s so important for girls especially to have someone they can relate to in a profession that is male dominated, and be able to feel like they can be anything they want to be.

What does equality mean to you?
It means to have equal rights, opportunities and recognition. To be able to be true to ourselves and still be treated as equals.

In your own terms, what is your reality of fair treatment?
I want to be treated and rewarded based on merits and not be judged based on stereotypes. I want my abilities to be recognised as it is and not less because of my gender.

Is there a specific male individual that has always supported and encouraged you regardless?
Yes, two actually. My longest friends and teammates Sheik Ferdous and Sheik Farhan. We’ve been training together since 2006 and we won our World titles together in 2018. They are like family to me.

If you could write a short note of appreciation to them, what would it be?
I’d say, thank you. For always believing in me and making sure that I am aware of my abilities. I’ve grown so much as an athlete throughout the years and I wouldn’t be who I am today without the support from the both of you.

A word of advice to women surrounded by men at work.
Focus on your craft, don’t be afraid to break boundaries and never let anyone intimidate you or make you feel inferior.


Aetll, Model Agent/Photographer

Three Women on Their Reality of Fair Treatment

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What spurred you to be a model booker?
My team and I believe in reshaping and redirecting the conventional ideas of beauty in fashion and we aim to represent a more modern perspective on what beauty is and what it can be.

You are surrounded by male peers in your profession, has this ever intimidated you?
Honestly no, but that doesn’t mean a man has never mansplained something to me or assumed I was meek or a pushover.

What is the biggest challenge you faced in your career?
Having your work be in the scrutiny of the public eye (such as Instagram) can be rather intimidating in itself, and being able to get over the constant sense of imposter syndrome and wondering “am I good enough”. Women also tend to be taken less seriously because some people assume we need a mentor or more specifically, a man to guide us and teach us when in fact we are perfectly capable on our own.

How do you deal with such issues?
It can be difficult to speak up about such issues because people don’t want to talk about the gender inequality in the beauty and fashion industry (and basically nearly every other industry ever) because when it comes to doing a job, they just want the work done with no fuss. The issues cannot really be “dealt with” because they are constantly there and as much as I/we try to educate people on why certain things are problematic, we cannot enforce rules to evoke change.

How do you feel about more women having a career typically dominated by men?
I feel empowered. Women have a way of viewing the world in a completely different way that men do, and a man’s worldview is no longer coveted.

What does equality mean to you?
When women no longer have to demand respect from the same people who put men on a pedestal but would not hesitate to tear a woman down.

In your own terms, what is your reality of fair treatment?
As a wise friend once told me, I believe in equity more than equality. Women are not asking to be treated the same as men, we are not asking to be seen as though we are equal to a man or better than a man. We are simply asking to be seen as who we are, and to not be measured against a man as a benchmark.

Is there a specific male individual that has always supported and encouraged you regardless?
My partner Keith has been a constant pillar of strength for me and has always believed in everything I want to achieve.

If you could write a short note of appreciation to him, what would it be?
I am eternally grateful to you for extending your time, your knowledge, your inexhaustible patience and love to me. Thank you.

A word of advice to women surrounded by men at work.
Never be afraid to tell a man he is wrong. Never let a man talk down to you. Never give up something you want just because you feel intimidated

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Photography Venus Oh
Art Direction Izwan Abdullah
Styling Manfred Lu
Styling Assistant Bing
Grooming & Hair Priscelia Wong
Outfits Ermenegildo Zegna XXX
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This story about three women on fair treatment  first appeared in our March 2021 issue