Hi, I’m Linda. I’m now partially retired but I had been a social worker for the past 30+ years focusing on women’s well-being and promoting gender equality. My journey as a women’s rights social worker started from my divorce where outsiders would put the blame on me for the failure of my marriage even though they may not know or understand the reasons behind.
“Why is the blame all on women?” I questioned. “Is it the gender stereotype or traditional Chinese cultural and social norms that see it as a failure of women when the marriage does not work?”
It was especially difficult to raise funds in 2007 due to the economic crisis. The staff team of 2 left the fund as they were ambivalent towards the direction and ways to operate a unique women’s fund like us. It was then I decided to work on HER Fund on a full time basis. Operating a fund with limited fund raising or business/finance background was tough and I had to learn everything from trial and error. However, I overcome these challenges by believing in what I did and was daring enough to make new attempts.
During my tenure at HER Fund, I felt the lack of support and respect for women in business, and fund raising for women related causes was challenging and often seen as the weak begging for help - which was the last impression we wanted to give to others.
Due to gender stereotypes, women’s roles are mostly very submissive, dependent and secondary. We wanted to raise fund to help women to raise their status and voices in the society and empowerment is the first step. Women’s reassurance for themselves was key as women have to be sure of themselves, recognizing their own abilities whilst being aware and taking control of what is happening around them.
How to achieve a work life balance?
When I was still working at HER Fund, it was hard to find a work life balance. I devoted all my time and efforts in what I was trying to build. However, I learned that it is always important to create space for ourselves and do things we like to create happiness.
Recently, I have been volunteering at a farm to grow plants and veggies. It gives me a sense of achievement when I see them grow, feeling much relax and being with nature.
A woman with kindness is beautiful. It is not about the beauty in appearance but the inner self; a woman who is selfless and has empathy for others.