Women rise above
"Women succeed despite the issues they face. They do not fail because of them."
This line was taken from Teak Research's latest study in partnership with AKIN ASIA that seeks to understand the gender equality landscape across Asia Pacific.* While we are still in the very early stages of our research, we have uncovered some interesting observations and perspectives that I wanted to reflect upon.
While it's evident that gender barriers do exist across Southeast Asia, the women we've been speaking with don't let these barriers inhibit their success in anyway. Instead, women rise above.
The women who make up my circle of friends and that of the AKIN ASIA community don't define themselves by the gender barriers that exist around them. These are strong women who don't let these barriers impact their success, who work around societal expectations and who seek to support and help others along the way. Despite the challenges that exist, women rise above the barriers and triumph anyway. In doing so, they challenge these cultural norms and expectations of a woman's role in society.
While this is hardly reflective of all women living and working across Southeast Asia, I do think that there is an inherent strength that women possess to meet challenges head on, deal with pain and overcome difficulties. This strength brings life into the world, it's there when the going gets tough and decisions need to be made and it provides power to overcome societal expectations.
The barriers to gender equality are often talked about in a way that depict women as helpless, caught up in a world controlled by social norms and expectations. Here though we find the very opposite - that despite the issues they face, women succeed and do so by rising above challenges.