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Harpreet Bedi | Women of Power 2022

Harpreet Bedi

CEO of The Garcha Group

Harpreet Bedi is a hotelier – though, to be more precise, she is in the business of empowering women. The Garcha Group, which owns and manages extravagant hotels The Vagabond Club, Duxton Reserve, Serangoon House and Maxwell Reserve, is a champion of gender inclusivity in the workplace. “Hiring women in leadership roles is a corporate initiative,” she says. “I also try to encourage the younger girls to remain in their jobs by offering as much flexibility and opportunity as possible.”

Women’s issues have long been among Harpreet’s top priorities. In 2012, she founded Belris (Bioethics Legal Research in Singapore), an independent, non-profit think tank focused on reproductive treatments and technologies in Singapore. It advocates for women’s reproductive rights, arguing that it is to Singapore’s benefit to allow single women to freeze their eggs regardless of their marital status or state of health.

She is also one of the founding members of Equal Ark, a charity offering animal-based learning to youths, persons with special needs, families and the elderly. As the former chairperson, Harpreet conceptualised and directed the non-profit organisation’s first Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL) programme, a well-established pedagogy that helps participants develop life and social skills through interactions with therapy horses.

So invested is she in helping women that she took two underprivileged girls, aged 12 and 18, under her wing, raising them alongside her four biological children. “Nothing can compare to the feeling of seeing their self-esteem increase as they become independent,” says Harpreet. “Doda, my Mongolian daughter, is now a vet, and my American daughter Emily is in hospitality and stands on her own two feet.”

On her relentless, never-give-in fight for gender equality, she adds, “Discrimination against women remains in many parts of the world and across various socio-economic stratas. That’s why it’s important that we continue to celebrate and uplift women, so that in time, women and men are treated with the same amount of respect.”

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