International Women's Day: Marilyn Tan, Tracy Phillips, Farah Lola and more share inspiring messages

by Reta Lee of Yahoo! Lifestyle Singapore

Women have marched, protested and fought for their rights. It’s a great time in history and for women to continue to make a difference in this world. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter to drive gender-balance around the world, and Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to women of today, be it entrepreneurs, athletes, artists to share their thoughts on what it takes to be a woman today.


16. Sheryl Yeo, founder and designer of custom tailored suits label,

What is it like to be a woman today in this 21st century?

I think being a 21st century woman can be extremely liberating – especially when you understand your rights as one and if you’ve had the privilege to receive education. We’re given a lot more room to smash the patriarchy and call them out when it is needed – and I’m learning to do so when I spot that something doesn’t sit right. I feel like there’s a lot room to also be fluid now as females, women are not just confined to just being “feminine” and I embrace all of that now and be more of myself than what the old stereotypes call for.

There are many others who are still oppressed by societal expectations of the “perfect woman.” That can be disheartening at times – I still experience it from time to time – but I hope that more women will realise what they deserve and are capable of.

What are some of the challenges you face at this point in your life, whether it’s personal or career growth?

Staying true to myself and the core of what I stand for, both at work and in my personal life. I always find it easier to please others so that peace can be maintained. I guess most of us, especially women too, are taught to be less assertive and put the comfort of others’ ahead of our own. It’s something I hope to work on – that it’s ok to speak up and share your thoughts no matter.

Case in point – I recently went for an event and had a chat with someone. I put up with some of his opinions out of courtesy, but in turn felt “harassed” by his words, because he said he could “see my chest from his point of view.” (I was wearing a collared shirt with full coverage.) I wish I had said something and made a stand instead. And I believe so many women go through these scenarios so often, we sometimes forget that we don’t actually have to put up with it.

Do you have a mentor/idol you look up to and why?

This is hard – I have tonnes! But Björk has been one of my idols for years, and she deserves a homage of sorts. I’ve been a big fan of not only her music and style, but also her free-spirited attitude. She gives zero f***ks about what people say or think of her, and consistently does whatever she deems fit. She’s truly ahead of her time, and always steps ahead. And I find there’s a beauty about women and people who live out loud, just as she does.

Sheryl Yeo