True Story: What Being A Trailing Expat Wife In Singapore Taught Me About Confidence

13 March 2017

By Finger blogger: Andrea McKenna


In U.S. news, a huge asset management company put a statue of a “defiant girl” on Wall Street, hands akimbo facing the famous bull statue. The statement is meant challenge financial and corporate firms to add more women to their board of directors, as women are not well-represented in corporate leadership roles.

The feminist movement is picking up steam around the world, with massive peaceful marches in the U.S. and celebrities like Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame touting women’s rights for the United Nations.

Even with this momentum, I think it’s hard for some expat women to call themselves feminists when many of us rely nearly 100% on our husbands for support. It always bothers me anyway and I’ve been told I’m not in the feminist club because of it.

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Despite that, I care deeply about women’s issues and strive to make the world a more equal place for my daughter to grow up in. Even if we expat wives are supported financially, we can still support women’s issues by how we act and what organizations we choose to support.

I was made aware of group here in Singapore that advocates for women’s equality. It’s called AWARE, the Association of Women for Action and Research.

According to AWARE’s website, its vision is to build “a society where there is true gender equality – where women and men are valued as individuals free to make informed and responsible choices about their lives,” and its mission is to “remove all gender-based barriers so as to allow individuals in Singapore to develop their potential to the fullest and realise their personal visions and hopes.” They do this by research and advocacy, education and training and support services.

AWARE has a help line in both English and Mandarin to help women get the help they need, and their website even includes a call number for victims of sexual assault and information on how to deal with sexual harassment. You can even call anonymously if you need to protect your identity.

Volunteers can work on a flexible schedule and can attend AWARE training courses and discussions. Opportunities include manning the help line, helping with legal services and befrienders, who accompany victims of abuse to the hospital, police station and courts. You can also do writing for the website or the research group, IT and of course, fundraising.

In a world where men grind on statues of little girls (New York’s Defiant Girl statue) and governments de-criminalize domestic violence (Russia), clearly women need to stand up for other women, especially those most vulnerable.

Think about who you want to be as a woman and what kind of world you want to live in.

Then act, support, donate. Women need women.


About Andrea McKenna

Andrea McKenna Brankin is journalist and author from the United States who lives a full life with bipolar disorder. Her book, Bipolar Phoenix, is awaiting a publishing contract. She is also currently a volunteer at the DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre for teen girls in Singapore, providing befriending-family support, therapeutic writing and rugby coaching.


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