"Confidence Is Key" — Kao Empowers Malaysian Women With Educational Programmes

From educating girls about menstrual hygiene to instilling confidence in young women, Kao is committed to championing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Cover image via Kao (Provided to SAYS)

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This Spotlight is sponsored by Kao.

In our pursuit to foster social progress in Malaysia, we must first recognise the importance of gender equity

Women empowerment, for instance, plays a crucial role in the development of an inclusive and equitable society. From providing equal opportunities for education and training, to promoting women's rights and challenging traditional gender norms, much effort is required from individuals, organisations, and other stakeholders to create an environment where women are valued for their contributions to society.

As an advocate for women's empowerment, Japanese consumer products manufacturer Kao has been actively carrying out community efforts in Malaysia

Image via Kao

In fact, since 1994, Kao has educated young Malaysian girls about menstrual hygiene with their 'Yakinlah Menjadi Remaja' workshops.

Plus, with their recent collaborations with PTPTN, Kao has since expanded their programme with the 'Laurier School of Confidence' series.

President and CEO of Kao Corporation Yoshihiro Hasebe said, "Based on our core value of walking the right path, and building upon the foundation of respecting human rights, Kao has created a diversity, equity, and inclusion policy with the aim of allowing individual values and talents to shine brighter.

"In particular, Kao believes that women's empowerment is essential for the company to grow, given that diversity is one of the most crucial aspects of human capital. Based on this idea, we are committed to leading the way in this area with initiatives that include the development of potential future leaders and providing support for balancing work and childcare."

In conjunction with their 50th anniversary, the corporation held a meaningful discussion pertaining to women's empowerment during their 'Together for Tomorrow' roadshow

(From left) PTPTN Chief Operating Officer Dr Mastura Mohd Khalid, dentist and content creator Dr Kayla, influencer Nalisa Alia Amin, and Laurier brand ambassador Sofeashra.

Image via Kao (Provided to SAYS)

Held at Ikano Power Centre from 4 to 9 July, the roadshow featured a sharing session on 7 July with inspiring Malaysian women such as PTPTN Chief Operating Officer Dr Mastura Mohd Khalid, dentist and content creator Dr Kayla, influencer Nalisa Alia Amin, and Laurier brand ambassador Sofeashra.

When asked how she built up her self-confidence in becoming a plus-size model in Malaysia, Nalisa said that she was fed up with typical beauty standards

"During my mid-twenties, I got very tired of trying to be skinny, fair, have straight hair, and also my weight fluctuated a lot. So, I built up my social media, and I spoke up for what I believed in, which is self-acceptance, self-love, and self-respect. And surprisingly, people resonated with that," said Nalisa.

For Sofeashra, she started her career by never giving up when it came to approaching local brands for Raya collaborations during the pandemic.

"If you remember, businesses were struggling as they had a lot of baju Raya that people were not buying because they were not celebrating Raya, so I saw an opportunity. While some businesses accepted, some also declined, and some even saw my messages but didn't reply.

"But it's okay, I made sure to give 100% to the ones who accepted because I was honoured that they wanted to work with me, despite my account being very small back then. So, I made sure to give my all, and I've continued to grow ever since," Sofeashra shared.

Dr Kayla's advice for the next generation of women are self-improvement, setting small goals, and striving for the best

"My advice is just to be better than who you were yesterday. I don't compare myself with other people, I only compare with myself. As long as I feel I did better today than yesterday, then that is good enough.

"This brings me to my next point; you gotta celebrate your small goals. Life is a marathon, you can't just run at full speed all the time. I used to do that, regretted it, then slowed down. I then realised that I should set small goals. Lastly, just try your best," said Dr Kayla.

As for Dr Mastura, her advice for young women comes from a financial standpoint.

"Normally, in a domestic setting, women are the 'finance minister' at home. So we have to make sure that women are equipped with financial literacy so that when you're getting married, you can control the expenses of the whole family. It is very important for women that we know how to manage money. Take into account how much you get, how much you can spend, what are your needs and wants, your savings, and also your debts," Dr Mastura shared.

On top of advocating for women's empowerment, Kao has been delivering a wide range of beauty, home, and sanitary care products to generations of families since its establishment in Malaysia

Image via Kao

The Kirei Lifestyle Plan is part of Kao's efforts to bring product innovation as well as introduce sustainability goals to reduce its overall environmental impact.

Yoshihiro stated that in the midst of worldwide issues such as climate change, ageing societies, limited resources, and the handling of materials like plastics, consumers worldwide, including those in Malaysia, have increasingly expressed their desire for a more gentler and sustainable lifestyle.

"This is what we at Kao have named the Kirei Lifestyle, which is the backbone of our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy. Through continuous innovation and imagination, we are hence committed to helping consumers in Malaysia and everywhere else in the world live a beautiful life inside and out," he said.

To find out more about Kao and its Kirei Lifestyle, head over to its website

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