It is the twenty-first century, and discussions regarding women’s empowerment are widely regarded as an ongoing effort to educate and empower the public in preparation for a future that is gender-equal. Muslim World League (MWL), an international Islamic non-governmental organisation, recently launched a women empowerment campaign in conjunction with the international movement #BreakTheBias. This month-long social media campaign, aimed at empowering the female community in Southeast Asia, aims to encourage women to break gender barriers through a series of intimate virtual sharing sessions featuring female entrepreneurs and key opinion leaders (KOLs) from various backgrounds in Singapore and throughout the Southeast Asian region.
The campaign was launched in March 2022 to coincide with International Women’s Day, and it began in Singapore with a series of Instagram posts featuring female leaders sharing their experiences. The MWL features Norfasarie and Lydia Izzati, two well-known Singaporean entrepreneurs, in keeping with the theme.
Empowerment Through Breaking The Bias
The MWL aims to bring together like-minded women who are devoted to good change by emphasising the value of authenticity and narrative in empowering women. It is committed to cooperating with female personalities who resonate with the urge to speak up for their self-worth and universal rights through these virtual sharing sessions to motivate women.
The MWL is the largest Islamic NGO in the world, with offices in 139 countries. The Charter of Makkah, a document produced following a conference hosted by the MWL in Makkah and attended by over 1,200 Islamic experts, states: ‘The empowerment of women should not be undermined by marginalizing their role, disrespecting their dignity, reducing their status, or impeding their opportunities, whether in religious, academic, political or social affairs. Their rights include equality of wages and opportunity.’
Words From Singaporean Entrepreneurs
“This campaign is important to me because I have experienced bias first-hand during my initial years as a woman entrepreneur. I faced a lot of pushback as the men around me were only used to seeing women in stereotypical roles. I would not get heard enough and was not taken seriously. Despite all that, it never made me question my abilities. If anything, it only made me more unshakeable and persistent to break the glass ceiling one step at a time and also, celebrate other women-owned businesses to create pathways for change,” says entrepreneur and key opinion leader, Norfasarie.
“I believe everyone should be given equal opportunity. Being the founder of Satay Ummi, a lot of people are very skeptical of my involvement in our production and tend to doubt that I handle the preparation of our raw meat, such as cutting them up because these are typically deemed to be done by men. In the past, it used to make me angry, but now I take it as a form of motivation to show other people that we as women have our strengths too. We may be soft but we are strong, and even when we’re emotional, we’re resilient,” says entrepreneur and key opinion leader, Lydia Izzati.
The campaign kicked off with key opinion leaders in Singapore and to amplify the initiative further, Muslim World League has also roped in strong voices across the region such as Dynas Mokhtar and Mona Allen.
Advocating The True Teachings Of Islam
Muslim World League is an international non-governmental Islamic organisation based in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Its mission is to spread the true teachings of Islam through periodic conferences, seminars, and meetings, as well as coordinating intellectual discussions with scholars and opinion leaders on topics of interest to Muslims.
The MWL expects that this women empowerment campaign will be the first of many topics to be highlighted in its effort to advocate for Islam’s tolerant ideals in Southeast Asia, including education, workplace equality, and women’s rights.
“The subject of women empowerment is one that has been discussed and debated for a very long time. Though we have seen significant progress in empowering women across various verticals over the last few years, our efforts in helping women reach their full potential should never waver. Our campaign aims to shed light on the challenges and successes of our incredible panel of influential women in the hopes that those listening will be inspired to pursue their goals as fearlessly as possible,” said Abdul Wahab Alshehri, Undersecretary-General of Corporate Communications, Muslim World League.
Break The Bias Campaign
MWL’s global women empowerment projects include developing and sustaining education facilities for women in South Africa, Somalia, and Pakistan to provide access to all females who want knowledge, in addition to its “Break The Bias” campaign in Southeast Asia. MWL has also inked agreements with UN agencies such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in support of women’s rights, child trafficking, and other social issues.