Women’s Voices of Courage | 2020 International Women’s Day @PHBS
2020-03-08 15:09:31
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International Women’s Day first began as the recognition of a women’s labor strike in New York City more than a century ago, but has now grown into an international event that brings awareness and support for women’s rights and voices, and a time to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played influential roles in our society.

"A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult," said Melinda Gates in her remarks at 2003 Powerful Voices Annual Luncheon. In fact, women's inspiring voices hold the key to empower other women across the globe in spite of cultures, religions, ethnicity and social backgrounds.

In honour of International Women‘s Day, five female PHBSers shared their voices about how they have been empowered and achieve their goals with courage. 

Jooyoung Park 
Assistant Professor

When I was young, I wondered whether I could dream as I wished. Anne from the book Anne of Green Gables taught me to dream big. I realized that there is no such thing women can or cannot do because of who they are. I want to share my favorite from the book, and I wish all of you to dream big and never let your ambition shrink because of the challenges you face. 

Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them — that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.

…L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables



Safa Saidani 
 Staff, MA Office

My mother has taught me the true meaning of courage. Growing up with a mother who was daily fighting cancer for years without giving up on her family and her career has given me power to embrace life. 

I learnt that courage isn't only about making heroic actions but also about our willingness to daily confront our fear and pain.
In memory of my mother, I try to cultivate courage in my quotidian.

Priscilla Young
Senior Lecturer

Not only does International Women’s Day observe the “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” (, but it is also a reminder that we must keep moving forward on women’s equality. 

One of the tenets of equality is making your own choices. With that in mind I share a passage from Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood:

The very best way to relate to our work is to choose it. Right Livelihood is predicated upon conscious choice. Unfortunately, since we learn early to act on what others say, value, and expect, we often find ourselves a long way down the wrong road before realizing we did not actually choose our work.

The ability to choose our work is no small matter. It takes courage to act on what we value and to willingly accept the consequences of our choices. Being able to choose means not allowing fear to inhibit or control us, even though our choices may require us to act against our fears or against the values of those we love…Choosing sometimes forces us to leave secure and familiar arrangements…I have come to respect the courage it takes to even examine work and life options honestly (p. 10).

Sinetar, M. (1987). Do what you love, the money will follow: Discovering your right livelihood. Dell.



Zhang Hanwen
MA Student 

Women need courage to keep independent thinking and free soul to pursue what they really want from the bottom of heart, instead of what they are told to.

Women need courage to use their energy and face the responsibility of being a professional employee, a filial daughter, a gentle wife and a good mother.
Women need courage to face the prejudice brought by society and culture, to complete greater challenges and tasks, and achieve self-actualization.

Zhang Yuwei
MBA student 

Women have been socialized to aspire to perfection and they're overly cautious." This sentence comes from a TED talk named "Teach Girl Bravery, Not Perfection." As a person, we should know that we can't be perfect, and our youth and life are too short. What we should do is not to consider how to be the "perfect women" in the eyes of others, but to bravely become the most ideal one in our own heart.