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Eight women were inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday (Mar 8), making it 182 women who have been honoured for their outstanding achievements and contributions so far. 

Among them is Saleha Mohamed Shah, who in the 1950s and 1960s was the editor and sole writer of the first magazine for Malay women in the region. 

At its peak, Fashion magazine, written in Jawi, distributed about 100,000 copies monthly and drew “busloads of women” from Malaysia to its Singapore office on weekends.

Saleha had wanted the magazine to encourage Malay women “to read and broaden their world view”, and it eventually became “an agent of change for the development of the modern Malay woman”, according to a press release. 

Another inductee is Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Lee Mei Yi, the first woman appointed to command a fighter jet squadron and who led the F-16 “bomb burst” at the last National Day Parade. 

The other six inductees are: 

Amanda Heng: One of the first artists in Singapore to explore feminist issues in her work and to use performance art to express her ideas.

Celia Loe: Pioneering fashion designer and entrepreneur, who at her peak had more than a dozen stores in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and London.

Esther Tay: Another pioneering fashion designer and entrepreneur, who was the first Singapore designer to break into the Japanese retail market.

Janet Lim: A global refugee crises problem-solver, who in her 34 years with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees helped to establish the UN refugee agency’s emergency response capacity and improve collaboration within the humanitarian community.

Khoo Kim Choo: Pioneering educator and early childhood specialist, who played a key role in the transformation and growth of Singapore’s early childhood education sector.

Ovidia Yu: Internationally acclaimed novelist and playwright, whose Crown Colony series of historical murder mysteries has been optioned for television by an international production company.

The Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame was founded in 2014 by the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the country’s most outstanding women, and to document and share their stories.

Said SCWO president Junie Foo: “It is so important for the young to have role models, people they can look up to and be inspired by. 

“The women in the Hall of Fame are fantastic role models. Many faced obstacles as they pursued their dreams and ambitions, but they persevered, and they persisted, and they eventually saw success.”

This is the message of the Hall of Fame – these women did it, and so can you,” she said. 

CNA Women is a section on CNA Lifestyle that seeks to inform, empower and inspire the modern woman. If you have women-related news, issues and ideas to share with us, email CNAWomen [at]