BPW Singapore’s inaugural Equal Pay Day event

Don’t Discount Our Pay– We Are Worth It

– Salary Negotiations, the Law and the Practice-

Singapore, 1 June, 2013About 55 attended a half-day dialogue session recently on 1 June to listen to several speakers discuss and debate on a very interesting topic with regard to the existing pay wage gap between men and women in many countries including Singapore.  

Titled “Don’t Discount Our Pay – We Are Worth It; -Salary Negotiations, the Law and the Practice”, the event which was organised by the Young BPW of the Federation of Business and Professional Women (Singapore) (BPW Singapore) and supported by Women’s Register, saw a fair mix of mainly entry and mid-level corporate executives, business owners, students and some gentlemen, who were keen to find out the reasons and contributing factors behind the income inequality between both genders and if so, what could be done to narrow them.

Participants waving the Equal Pay Day tote bags, 1 June 2013

Held on the premise of Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO), this was BPW Singapore’s inaugural Equal Pay Day (EPD) event, which is one of the initiatives of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) and among the many EPD events which BPW clubs worldwide have been organising since 2011. In addition, BPW Singapore also followed in the footsteps of its sister clubs by organising its first ever Red Bag Day as part of its global campaign to raise awareness that the women’s accounts are in the red as a result of the economic discrimination women face. The colour red was chosen because it symbolises red numbers and a red bag represents the red numbers in women’s pockets. Mony collected from the sale of second-hand red bags donated by members of the Federation and Equal Pay Day buttons would go towards the Federation’s Education and Development Fund which is used to help finance or sponsor any individual or any meaningful projects.

Speakers included Dr. Bettina Schleicher, Head of the Equal Pay Day Task Force of BPW International and keynote speaker, Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun an international negotiations consultant.  Dr. Schleicher who was also the special guest of the event, shared with the audience her experience with starting the Equal Pay Day campaign in Germany and how she was later involved in spearheading the campaign across Europe and now around the world with her topic, “Equal Pay Day – a Global BPW Initiative”. Dr. Billings-Yun who also authored the book Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships equipped the audience with some negotiation tips in her topic “Don’t’ Feed Bears – How to Become a Powerful Negotiator While Using a Soft Voice” and also conducted a role play session with a volunteer based on the skills that she shared in her presentation. Copies of her book, Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships were also made available for sale, and Dr. Billings-Yun also obliged with requests for her autographs made on her books that were sold.

In addition, the audience also got to hear examples on the hiring practices and its realities closer to home from local human resources practitioners Yeo Suan Wei a Director of Profile Search and Selection Asia and Diana Chee an Organisational Coach of Clarion Leadership Asia. In both their speeches titled “How Women Really Negotiate – Real Life Examples from a Headhunter’s Perspective” and “The Pay in-e- Quality” respectively, Ms Yeo who has more than a decade of experience in the recruitment industry specialising in recruiting in the financial services sector under her belt, shared how women really negotiate in the marketplace. Ms Chee on the other hand gave an insight to the hiring and compensation practices from the angle of a very male-dominated industry, and MNCs and based on her experience, felt that women do tend to sell themselves short, resulting in being hired with a salary that is lower down the salary scale. Nevertheless, Ms Chee added that if women prove themselves in the job, it was very possible for them to catch up with their male colleagues quickly.

Mrs Laura Hwang, President of the SCWO also made a special appearance and gave a short inspiring speech. Both Dr Schleicher and Dr Billings-Yun specially flew in for the event.

About The Federation of Business and Professional Women (Singapore)

The Federation of Business and Professional Women (Singapore) was formed in 2001.  It is the co-ordinating body of BPW Clubs in Singapore and its members comprise the Singapore Business and Professional Women Association (SBPWA), SBPWA-Mandarin Chapter, and BPWA (Singapore) – Third Chapter.  The first SBPWA Club was formed in Singapore in 1972. For information about the Association, visit the Association’s website at www.fbpws.org.sg .

About The Young BPW

BPW members up to the age of 35 automatically belong to the Young BPW.

About Women’s Register

The Women’s Register (WR) is a platform for networking, education, mentorship, inspiration and the promotion of directorships for an extensive group of women of all ages. It is an initiative of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations. More information about Women’s Register at www.womensregister.org .

About Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day (EPD) symbolises the day until which women have to work longer to earn the same salary as men earned the year before. It is an international campaign of BPW International.  More information about EPD at http://equal-pay-day.com/  & http://www.bpw-international.org/equal-pay-day/what-is-epd

About the Pay Gap Situation in Singapore

The Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Report on Wages in Singapore for 2011 reveals that the gender wage gap stood at 26.5% and that wage difference was considerably wider in blue-collar occupations. In The Global Gender Gap Report 2012 which was published by the World Economic Forum, Singapore ranked at number 55 out of the 135 countries that were covered in The Global Gender Gap Index 2012 rankings.

About Special Guest Dr. Bettina Schleicher

Dr. Bettina Schleicher is the co-founder of German law firm, Jung & Schleicher in Berlin and specialises and banking law and capital markets. President of BPW Berlin from 2000 to 2004 and president of BPW Germany from 2004 to 2008. Bettina launched the first Equal Pay Day in Germany in 2008 and convinced other organisations to follow. She has been head of the Equal Pay Day Taskforce of BPW International since 2009.

About Keynote Speaker Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun

Dr. Melanie Billings-Yun, author of Beyond Dealmaking: Five Steps to Negotiating Profitable Relationships, is an international consultant on negotiation and strategic influencing.Formerly lecturer at Harvard’s Kenney School of Government, Melanie has spent the last two decades assisting companies, individuals and women’s organisations to achieve their goals to through improved-relationship management.

About Panel Speaker Yeo Suan Wei

Yeo Suan Wei is currently a Director at Profile Search and Selection, an award-winning Asian focused executive search and selection firm. Suan Wei had spent over a decade recruiting in the financial service sector and has focused recently on governance (legal/compliance/risk/audit). She was voted Number 1 Legal and Compliance Headhunting Executive in Asia in 2013 by the annual Asianmoney poll.

About Panel Speaker Diana Chee

Diana is an Organisational Coach of Clarion Leadership Asia. She brings with her more than 15 years of management and professional human resources experience at regional and country levels. Her successful cross-country track records include the Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Logistics, Trading and Manufacturing industries as well as high-growth and sunset industries.

Singapore EPD


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