March 8 marks International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021, a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Historically, IWD also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity as significant activity is witnessed worldwide where groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality.
Ahead of this year’s celebration, Taylor’s University has released its latest short film for IWD, centring around the societal expectations of women in society.
The two-minute-long film follows this year’s IWD theme, #Choosetochallenge as it takes audiences through a series of thought-provoking scenes which highlight the stereotype and gender biases women and girls often face in society.
According to a statement by Taylor’s University, for generations, women have always played a pivotal role in shaping humanity – from ensuring a stable home to achieving corporate successes – but even in today’s evolved society, many are still faced with conversations and situations that undermines their value and contribution.
Through the short film, the university is taking a stand to highlight the hidden tribulation and grievances that women often go through – whether they are girls with an ambition of becoming the first female Prime Minister, young women dreaming of building their own empire and becoming a CEO, or even the brilliant teenage scientists whose values are often assigned on their appearances, rather than their achievements.
“The short film is based on the realities of cultural and societal norms, present even in today’s modern age and it is our pursuit, within the ecosystem called Taylor’sphere, that aspiring female leaders are encouraged to challenge societal expectations and be unafraid of uncomfortable conversations,” said Group Chief Marketing Officer of Taylor’s Univeristy, Ben Foo. “It is a culture that recognises every individual is distinct and has a voice, not because of their gender, creed nor the colour of their skin but that every person is created equal.”
Through its belief ‘Our Community is Our Strength’, Taylor’s University is also rallying brilliant women within its community – student, alumni, academic and industry mentor – to share their inspirational stories as they challenged gender norms to make great progress towards a balanced and equal future for other females
Designing a well-rounded education for students pursuing social sciences
For Taylor’s University Head of School, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Associate Professor Dr Anindita Dasgupta, the success of world-known female leaders that brings about positive change in society, is what keeps her motivated to also shine a spotlight on works that encourages others to pursue their goals without bias or barriers.
With over 20 years of experience in the education sector, the formidable academician has been constantly highlighting the importance of social sciences and humanities curriculum in today’s education scenario – and looking at how she can help to better the system for the next generation of leaders.
Dr. Anindita strongly believes that grassroot level research, which she has conducted in different parts of Asia, is essential to understanding of social transformations. Her PhD in Political Science has led her to publish extensively on issues of urbanization, migration, and identity formations.
In her leadership, Taylor’s School of Liberal Arts and Sciences has launched Malaysia’s first conservatory degree in Performing Arts, and more recently, an innovative bachelor’s degree programme offered through work-based learning, Bachelor of Social Science with two distinctive specialisation in International Relations, and Social Innovation and Change.
Through grit and resilience, Dr Anindita has successfully created a space for more youth, female and male, to take up social science related studies, encouraging a new stream of ideas and conversations on the future of the world. As a strong advocate of multidisciplinary social science education, she believes in creating the right platform for the youth to articulate their voices on the global stage.
Giving a boost to the booze industry
Despite women making vast contributions to economies around the world, their participation in shaping economic and social policies remains limited and their access to economic assets restricted.
However, for womenpreneur and director of Taylor’s startup incubator BizPod, Jessie Chong, this limitation has not hindered her journey to become one of Prestige’s 2019 40 under 40 brightest young minds in Malaysia fighting for a positive change.
During her side hustle of repackaging mineral make-ups at just 18 years old, and selling them locally on online forums, she was able to generate a steady five-figure income. This endeavour, coupled with the advice from her mother, pushed her to continue her tertiary education and gain experience in the working world.
The young, bold entrepreneur has now been acclaimed by several organisations for her brilliant work ethic and leadership in establishing Malaysia’s most premium online alcohol store, Boozeat.
Seeing the magic in the phrase ‘a woman alone has power; collectively women create impact’, Jessie realised that having a mentor would greatly benefit entrepreneurs in their professional journey.
With the vision to develop the skills of aspiring business-minded individuals, Jessie actively involves herself with mentoring students enrolled with Taylor’s Team Entrepreneurship, offering them guidance and sharing her experiences to help shorten their learning curve and providing them with a head start being exposed to the dynamic interplay between people, process, structure and develop professional networks within the working world even before graduation.
The female martial artist who also knew infinity
Often, we hear ‘opportunity only knocks once’ but this does not apply to Taylor’s Sport Scholar and Ambassador of Taylor’s The Risers, Shahmalarani Chandran. As she juggles between her studies and her passion for martial arts, Shahmalarani found a new calling: nurturing the young generation.
The national karate champion, who has represented Malaysia in Asian championships, acknowledged that her introduction to the PALS programme (Peer assisted learning system) at Taylor’s University was what helped her realise her passion in teaching.
Her experience in tutoring SPM, IGCSE and degree students in subjects like mathematics, calculus and accounting has motivated her to set up mathematic workshops and write a mathematics handbook titled ‘Math Mastery Tools’ that will be able to help students cope with their examinations, especially during the pandemic.
She has also recently coached over 1,000 secondary students on SPM mathematics, drawing creative analogies from her karate practice to help students understand complicated topics.
For the young champion, the mentoring opportunity given to her by Taylor’s College has opened up new doors towards a journey in youth empowerment and teaching, where Shahmalarani still continues to excel.
V.I.C.T.O.R.Y for legal education – literally
The Centre of Industrial Revolution and Innovation Chief Project Officer, Programme Director and Senior Law Lecturer at Taylor’s University, Puteri Sofia Amirnuddin, has always been fascinated with digital technology ever since she was in school.
However, in an industry that is predominantly assumed to be specialised by men, this Senior Law Lecturer is ready to challenge the status quo. In her pursuit for continuous learning, Puteri Sofia answered to a call for an e-learning grant at Taylor’s University in 2017.
Her cause – developing ways to make learning more interactive, meaningful and fun, by integrating digital technology into legal education.
As there were studies indicating Augmented Reality (AR) has been widely used in the field of medicine, engineering, automotive and even architecture, Puteri Sofia initiated a research paper to understand how AR could be applied into law modules.
The amicable female intellectual proves that she is a force to be reckoned with, as setbacks and hurdles are proven to be of no barriers to her. Puteri Sofia managed to introduce AR in teaching law, sparking innovative solution by drawing inspiration from her V.I.C.T.O.R.Y springboard – Vision, Inspiration, Creating own opportunities, ability to Trust, being Optimistic, Resilient and Yearning to excel.
Additionally, the use of AR in teaching also saw Puteri Sofia introducing Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Gamification into various law modules that incorporate relevant life-skills, soft-skills, digital skills and innovation into students’ learning.
For IWD 2021, MARKETING Magazine is declaring the whole month of March as a celebration of Malaysian women in the industry and brand campaigns that aim to empower women and start a discussion on existing gender inequality.
Our biggest campaign for IWD 2021 is a 5-part content series, Challenge Accepted.
Throughout March, every Monday, we will be featuring one successful, inspiring and powerful woman who has accepted the challenge to be great at what she does. We’ve sat with each one of them and asked them about the mindset and determination they’ve built to be where they are today.
Challenge Accepted plays on the IWD 2021 global theme #ChooseToChallenge and through these stories, we’re excited for our readers to be inspired to challenge themselves and the norms around them to create something they’re proud of.
The first part of our series features Founder and CEO of idotyou, Dorothy Fong who started the creative agency 20 years ago.
Remaining a lean and small team, idotyou has executed some of the most memorable campaigns for big brands since and continues to do so and we found that Dorothy’s leadership skills and entrepreneurial mindset has played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of idotyou in the highly competitive marketing and advertising market.
Read more here.