Leading By Example

Published on 05 April 2017


You may not be able to tell from her small frame and unassuming demeanour, but Betty Ang is more than capable of holding her own as a female executive and union leader in a male-dominated industry.

The 44-year-old has worked in the finance department at offshore marine services provider Posh Semco for 11 years. Prior to that, she worked in accounts at ExxonMobil.

She is also the union branch chairperson of her company, which is unionised under the Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union (SMEEU).


She joined the branch committee three years ago as the secretary before moving up in the ranks and settling in her current role. Betty is also part of the NTUC Women’s Committee.

The union’s membership covers mostly workers in shipyards, who are predominantly men. However, a recent change in labour laws, allowing more professionals, managers and executives to be covered under unions, enabled more women to join.

Of her position as one of the few female union leaders, Betty said: “It’s actually an advantage because I help to provide a fresh perspective.”

As a branch official, Betty acts as the eyes and ears on the ground and strives to provide help to the members who need it.


One of the ways she operates is by lending a listening ear and hearing people out. Betty’s good-natured and sociable personality makes it easy for colleagues to trust and confide in her.

Just last year, she was instrumental in managing to secure retrenchment benefits for her ex-colleague.Betty has become adept at balancing work, union duties and housework over the years.

She has monthly meetings and does most of her union duties after work, but she has no qualms when it takes up her weekends.

Her two kids, aged 14 and 16, are supportive of her role in the union and regularly attend the work-family day events that she helps to organise.


“It’s definitely a challenge, getting participation from female members and encouraging them to take up an active role. I want to lead by example, guide and teach other women in the industry.

“What I see in the future is more women actively championing women’s rights, even in male-dominated industries,” she said.



Story by Nurul Asyikin Yusoff Photo by Aidan James Loo

Written and photographed by Temasek Polytechnic students from the Diploma in Communications & Media Management course as part of their Final Year Project from October 2016 to February 2017.

Tags: U Women Network,  NTUC,  Unions,  Woman Union Leader

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