On 27 July 2021, Soristic organised its annual Social Connex event. This year, the topic of focus is “Embracing Abilities: Female Social Entrepreneurs” where female social entrepreneurs are gathered to share the common challenges they have faced and motivation behind their work. The sharing of the webinar includes the general landscape of female social entrepreneurs and employment policies for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) within the ASEAN community.
- Mrinalini Venkatachalam, WEConnect
- Michelle Lim, Make The Change
- Quek Jing Yan, Seociety
- Febrina Bayurini, Kesuma Indonesia
During the webinar we had a chance to get a glimpse of an insightful discussion from the panel on various topics such as their thoughts on the inclusivity of PwDs within their community, key challenges of being a female social entrepreneur and how enterprises can be more conducive and inclusive to PwDs.
Read more to catch some of the highlights from the insight discussion.
“We are slowly moving towards a much more empathetic society, and much more inclusive.”– Michelle Lim
While talking about the perspective of the current level of inclusivity of PwDs within their community, the panelists have shared various thoughts on the topic. Firstly, Jing Yan has shared that the general public might have very little experience in interacting with PwDs and also a lack of exposure in terms of working with PwDs. She emphasised that being inclusive allows others to have the opportunities to engage and learn from a larger pool of talents, creating a greater diversity.
Michelle commented that many external factors might not be favourable for the PwDs in terms of seeking for jobs. However, more and more small medium enterprises are looking into redesigning their job scope to be more inclusive especially when working from home is an option. She is also very positive that in the future the society will be more empathetic and inclusive.
“Receiving is through giving, the moment you thought you are giving the opportunities, but actually you are receiving more than that.”– Michelle Lim
When asked for their advice on how enterprises of all sizes, especially SMEs can be more inclusive to PWDs, Michelle strongly encourages the hiring of people from diverse backgrounds, including PWDs. Many of the corporate cultures focus on empathy, teamwork and understanding, which Michelle believes that nothing beats having somebody different from you join the company everyone can learn from each other.
She highlighted that most of the social entrepreneurs in Singapore embraced inclusive hiring because they truly see the power and value of inclusivity, especially the learnings from one another.
“Inclusive hiring really brings diversity and different ideas and I think that’s what makes the team stronger.”– Quek Jing Yan
This sentiment is also echoed by Jing Yan. She mentioned the vast amount of experience that each one can bring, be it a new person who’s just starting a new job and came to prove themselves or someone who has a lot of experience.
“Regarding the advantage that a women have as a social entrepreneur, I am able to work from home and witness the development of my children at the same time.”– Febrina Bayurini
As a social entrepreneur in Indonesia, Febrina commented that Indonesia can also be known to have patriarchal traits in some aspects of their culture. Similarly, she echoed Jing Yan’s sentiments regarding the role that she has to play in the household. Febrina elaborated that she has to find the balance between cooking, cleaning the house, (taking care of) the children which she commented has to be done first before she can take care of her business. She also stated that although women may be managing businesses at a higher level, she believes that these women would also hire someone to help them manage their businesses. Febrina also added that her husband is also supportive of her business. Regarding the advantage that women have, Febrina answered that she is able to work from home and witness the development of her children at the same time. She also cited the pandemic and the flexible working arrangements of her role which allows her to help support her husband economically.
Lastly, our speakers shared their key takeaways for our audience of the webinars:
“If you want to be a changemaker, first starting from your home, from people that you can influence… Before you think about caring outside people, because if you can’t even give the best love to your own familiar people, it’s tough for you to give love to strangers.” – Michelle
“Do things that you feel comfortable with and then challenge yourself to take the next step. Social enterprise is really just another way for us to change the world, but there are really many ways for us that we can do so.” – Jing Yan
“Just to give equal opportunities to both men and women, just be equal to everybody, despite different backgrounds.” – Febrina