Halimah Yacob has been named the new President of Singapore. And why is it a big deal, you ask? Well, because she is the first woman to hold the position and she also wears a hijab. If this isn’t celebrating inclusivity then what is?
Despite the fact that Yocob is the first hijab-wearing President of Singapore, women in the country are not allowed to wear hijabs in some government schools and public sector jobs.
According to a report published in the Huffington Post, Yacob was the only candidate to meet the stringent qualifications for presidency set up by Singapore’s Elections Department. Which means she claimed the rank without getting even a single vote. However, her achievement has been overshadowed by criticism as some people feel her appointment is undemocratic.
Yacob is a former speaker of the Parliament and belongs to the minority Malay community. Since the post was reserved for a candidate from the minority communities, Yocob became the first choice after other nominations disqualified. Holding a senior post for over three years also worked in her favour.
Despite the criticism, Yacob remains unfazed and is eager to work for the betterment of her country. “I can only say that I promise to do the best that I can to serve the people of Singapore and that doesn’t change whether there is an election or no election,” says Yacob in an interview to Channel News Asia.
Interestingly, Yacob has an Indian connection too. Born to an Indian Muslim father and Malay mother, she is youngest of the five children. Though, she was raised by her single mother, who worked as a food cart seller. After graduating from University of Singapore with a law degree, Yacob began her career by working for a national trade union. Later, she went onto enter politics and became the Speaker of Parliament in 2013.
Yacob is all set to be sworn in as the President of Singapore today.
(this post is written by Sarwat Fatima and was originally published on oddnari.in)