KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Jimmy Choo is no stranger to mentoring women, his newest protege being accessories designer Illiza Ho Chia-Hui.
It was no surprise then that the celebrated fashion designer was one of the first Malaysians to be honoured with the Women of the Future Awards, along with marine biologist and environmentalist Yasmin Rasyid and lawyer and activist Firdaus Husni.
Speaking to The Star after the award ceremony here on Friday, Choo said he had always believed that men should support the women around them.
“I have worked with a lot of women’s organisations as I feel that it’s very important to give back to women,” he said.
Choo’s thoughts were in line with the aim of the Women of the Future Network, founded by Pinky Lilani as a way to gather accomplished and influential women from various industries for networking, idea-sharing and collaboration.
Yasmin hoped that the award would help inspire other Malaysian women to work towards their dream.
“The idea is to get as many women to become agents of change, whatever they want it to be,” she said, adding that her aim was to help women as a group through community empowerment projects.
Firdaus said the backing of other women was important to her, as was supporting other women.
“It is of particular significance that women should support other women,” she said, explaining the importance of giving that “push of confidence” to one another.
The awards, the first held in South-East Asia, was jointly hosted by the Women of the Future Network, the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and YTL Corporation Bhd executive director Datuk Yeoh Soo Min.
Pinky said she chose Malaysia as a first stop for the global branch of the network due to its dynamism.
“It’s young, it’s dynamic and it’s on the move, so it’s a great starting point,” said Pinky.
She spoke of how some women still lacked self-confidence in promoting themselves.
By giving them a platform and by having other women champion them, “we find that their whole career projection really changes”.
“We found that if a job is advertised out there and a man can only do 50% of the work, he will still apply for it but for a woman, even if she can do 90% of the work, she won’t apply as she thinks she should be able to do the final 10% first,” Pinky said.
British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell said the country was also chosen for its solid ties with Britain, especially in education.
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