Legal Business Blogs

International Women’s Day 2022: Swee Yen Koh, WongPartnership – leading individual – Singapore International Arbitration

What advice would you give aspiring female lawyers?

Be a lifelong learner. As clichéd as it sounds, one should never stop learning. As a disputes lawyers, I learn from each and every courtroom and arbitration experience. I observe my opposing counsel, the witnesses and the tribunal – and there are always learning points, the to-dos and not to-dos.

This year’s IWD theme is ‘BreakTheBias’ on gender inequality, discrimination and stereotypes – how biased is the Singapore commercial legal market these days and what is the change that most needs to happen?

In Singapore, there has been an increasing focus on issues concerning women over the past few years. The Singapore government has undertaken to review these issues, and will be putting forward concrete proposals in a white paper, which is to be released early this year. More companies across industries are also making the issue of gender equality a priority. In the legal space, we have definitely seen more women taking on leadership and significant roles, across both the private and public sector. A case in point is my law firm, where the gender mix in our management is equally balanced, with a slight tilt in favour of women. I believe that to achieve greater gender equality, every organisation needs to ensure equal opportunities to progress that is based on meritocracy rather than gender, promote a nurturing work culture that reduces bias in women and develop family-friendly policies.