WomenTalk TV’s Founder, Eunice Olsen, is no stranger to the media spotlight. A former beauty queen and political figure in Singapore, she now does her part in stepping up the challenging world of women empowerment across Asia.
“We need to know the ground first before addressing an issue. Like climbing Mount Everest, women empowerment is not something you do just like that.”
From being a beauty queen, Nominated Member of Parliament, to Founder of WomenTalk TV, everything Eunice does is connected in some way or another. By a fortunate stroke of serendipity, she’s now doing her best to boost women empowerment across Asia, one step at a time.
“We need to know the ground first before addressing an issue. Like climbing Mount Everest, women empowerment is not something you do just like that. You’ve got to train, prepare, research, acclimatise, face storms, sometimes wait then climb again. But it doesn’t mean you will make it,” says the affable Doyenne.
Doyenne: What does being fearless in the face of failure look like?
Eunice: WomenTalk TV has interviewed everyday (not ordinary) women across Asia to empower more women to make a difference. We see a lot of them saying “I was defeated at one point but now I’m fighting”, or that they need to do something because no one else is doing it.
This strong determination and drive in them is very powerful as it boils down to the fact that if I ever fail, I will pick myself up and keep going. It is like climbing Mount Everest. You fall, then keep getting up – that’s the triumph of the human spirit.
D: Why did you start WomenTalk TV?
E: It’s a very big coincidence. Once, I was hosting a show and this idea sparked off in my mind. Like Steve Jobs said: it is all about connecting the dots.
Women should help each other and I want to do something useful. A female minority would likely be marginalised or prosecuted anywhere else in the world but Singapore. I have the duty to act, so I began working with women issues subconsciously.
With this background, I use the media to help empower women at WomenTalk TV. It is a platform for them to have honest and open conversations. We always encourage interviewees to speak their minds in front of the camera, talk about what feels right, without censorship. If they have the courage to talk about controversial topics, we will air it.
“When we don’t know, we ask. When we fail, we learn something from it. It doesn’t mean that we have failed as a person. These failures are just pushing us towards the thing that we are meant to do.”
D: How did you expand WomenTalk TV throughout Asia?
E: Through a lot of trial and error, everything we have done has given us various anchors to proceed. I always feel that we only live once, so do as much as you can.
When we don’t know, we ask. When we fail, we learn something from it. It doesn’t mean that we have failed as a person. These failures are just pushing us towards the thing that we are meant to do.
This is a necessary struggle to push ourselves towards something greater. It is painful at times, but very fulfilling every step of the way.
D: What do you hope to achieve with WomenTalk TV?
E: It is great to know that the amalgamation of WomenTalk TV’s work has a bigger impact on women empowerment. The media is a powerful tool and I’m so glad we are doing all that we can to deliver stories to the world.
We’ve always noticed a great sense of humility in our interviewees who are doing such amazing things but are still not as celebrated yet. We will never quite witness the direct impact of our work, but I know we are part of a greater cause.
D: Are there limitations to women empowerment?
E: I don’t think the word “limitation” should be put together with women. We never ask men that! Women are amazing. They have to juggle everything – be a mother, wife, teacher, business person, and caregiver all at the same time.
I feel like the paradigm has shifted to an economic level in Asia, yet it should also shift on a social level. We know about huge female figures from the West, like Oprah, but why don’t we look towards Asia for women empowerment?
We have so many amazing stories of everyday Asian women doing extraordinary things with their lives, even dealing with a patriarchal society. There is a long way to go, but in time to come, the world can start looking towards Asia to know more about women empowerment as well!
Hosted by Eunice Olsen, WomenTalk TV is an interview series featuring incredible everyday women from Asia. Click on their link to discover what paralympians, rape survivors, human rights activists and such have to say about making a difference.
Media and images by WomenTalk TV