KUALA LUMPUR: Girls should never let anyone stop them from achieving their dreams, says Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh.
Personally, Yeoh said she had to work hard to overcome her own challenges to prove naysayers wrong.
“When I was called into politics 11 years ago, the ceiling that was put over me was, ‘you are young, you are not experienced, you cannot become a politician’.
“I had to work extra hard to smash that limitation, to say that my age is not a barrier.
“So wherever you are, whatever stage of life you’re in, there will always be limitations. Don’t worry, just work around it, don’t let that cripple you, ” she said.
There are many limitations and glass ceilings that are placed across girls and women, said Yeoh, adding that even strong and powerful women had glass ceilings over them.
“And because of that, I just want to challenge all the girls here.
“Smash those glass ceilings and don’t allow anyone to cap your growth, ” said Yeoh at the #dreamBIG event on Saturday (Oct 12).
It was organised by The Body Shop and the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) in celebration of the International Day of the Girl.
Yeoh was also presented with dreams and aspirations of the participants, with the girls’ dreams ranging from becoming an author, to providing free healthcare to those in need, to creating music and art to connect people.
WAO president Yee Pek Mei highlighted the importance of a supportive environment for girls.
“It’s by creating a supportive environment that we can help girls thrive and achieve their dreams.
“This includes providing girls with education that sparks their curiosity, creativity, and critical-thinking, (as well as) education that prepares them for a changing world, ” she said.
Meanwhile, The Body Shop Malaysia managing director Datin Mina Cheah-Foong emphasised that girls must be given opportunities to pursue their dreams.
“As an activist brand selling beauty products, we are always at the forefront of empowering women and girls to be more than beautiful (#BeMoreThanBeautiful).
“We believe that all girls can be anything they dream of, and should be given the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
“We as adult women can and should create opportunities for our girls to pursue their dreams, ” she said.
As an extension of the #dreamBIG campaign, The Body Shop Malaysia and WAO will also be running a six month sports empowerment programme for inner-city girls this year.
The programme will coach and educate 16-year-old girls from low-income communities on self-confidence, health, relationships, and community-building through sports.
Those wanting to contribute to the campaign will be able to do so, as part of the sales proceeds from their purchases with The Body Shop Malaysia will be used to fund the programme.
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