Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Macau is home to many international women, whether born locally, from China, or from around the world. This year, International Women’s Day is celebrated under the #BeBoldForChange campaign. Macau Lifestyle is taking part in this global campaign and introducing you to some prominent Macau-based women. We sat down with each of them and asked some “bold” questions. The answers we got are open, real and inspiring!
Talking about valuable lessons she learned in life, Kylie Rogers takes our inspiring woman spotlight as VP of Asian Operations for Paltronics. She is also an active member of the International Ladies Club of Macau (ILCM), focusing on charitable acts in the region. Making sure she does her part to give back to the community, the spirited Australian who spreads her optimism both in the workplace and social circle indulged us in a special interview to talk about women, sacrifice, and career challenges.
This year we are celebrating IWD in Macau. What is your connection with Macau?
I moved here 11 years ago from Sydney when I was just newly married to my husband. He had the opportunity to work in Macau then and I joined him. I have grown with Macau throughout the years and consider it my second home. This vibrant city has allowed me to spread my independent wings, become a wife, become a mother, and run a business. Looking back on our first year with all the challenges and struggles, it’s very rewarding to realize how much we have grown and eventually love this place.
How does it feel to be a woman in Macau, what is your experience and challenges?
I was 30 when I moved here and I have learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. The world is amazing when you actually get out and experience it but sometimes it takes people time to adjust to you and the other way around. This was most especially true to me when you move into a place with a small town feel with big city attitude. The Macanese and Western woman are very different but in the years gone by the gap has closed immensely. I am so proud of the independence of the Macau woman now and proud of myself for learning how to respect others that live differently than me.
With your work and contribution, what inspires you?
For my own story as an expat, I am inspired by the women who sacrificed their own careers to support their husbands dreams when moving here; by the mothers who chose to stop working to raise their children in a foreign country; and the woman who really ache to work but are unable due to Macau law, so they give some of their time to local charity instead.
I have this saying, “I would rather face a boardroom full of men and woman than a day at home with two very active children.” I stand by this as I believe everyone can learn to do a job but not everyone is great at full-time parenting. Raising children is the hardest job in the world and it is not a cliché, it is the truth.
My charity work with ILCM is fulfilling and my work life is crazy busy as I travel so much but both helped me appreciate Macau even more.
The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. While it is still 2017, what makes women different and so important at this time?
I am on the side of an industry that is very male-dominated and I work very differently to most of the people that do what I do. I embrace that I am not the smartest nor the most strategic person in the room but I am hard working, compassionate and honest, sometimes to a fault. I am an emotional being and I have no problems saying that. If the reason for that is that I am a woman then so be it!
I believe being like this opens up a dialogue and friendship with both men and woman in my industry that an unemotional person may not be able to truly achieve. So I believe without woman there is less emotion and the whole world needs a good hug every now and then. I know many women that are tough as nails at work and downright amazing at what they do but live their work lives and home lives very separately to achieve that.
This year IMD is celebrated under #BeBoldForChange campaign. What “bold” actions can we do today to help drive gender parity?
Don’t deny that we are different because we truly are!
Show the world how in some ways it is a benefit that we are different and in the ways we are the same because we are. Let our successes speak for themselves instead of saying we can do what you can do.
Follow a CEO, entry-level and middle-level woman around for a day and show what they do and how it achieves amazing things daily without having to bash down what men also achieve.
In your daily life, how do you balance all the women’s roles (daughter, sister, mother, girlfriend…)?
I have an angel named Melanie who helps Chris and I every step of the way. Melanie is our girls’ nanny who has had to sacrifice much of her own time with her children to improve their future but in doing so has helped us raise ours.
Let’s go back to the inspiration question earlier. Women who have no choice but to leave their children to provide for them for the reasons you see so much of here in Asia is heartbreaking and we thank them for loving our families as much as they do.
I do have a habit of overextending myself but that is because family and friends are my single favorite thing in the world. I make friends because I chose to so I like to give them as much love as I do my relatives.
What is the message you’d like to share with all the women out there?
Stay a woman! Love hard, work hard and play hard and try staying true to who you are. This will change the world without you even realizing it.
To read more #BeBoldForChange inspiring interviews follow the hashtag #BeBoldForChange.
International Ladies’ Club of Macau (ILCM) www.ilcm.org.mo