Halimah Yacob

Speaker of Parliament, Singapore

In January 2013, Halimah Yacob became the first woman speaker of the Singapore Parliament. In nominating her, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described Yacob as someone who spoke "with a practical, compassionate voice, helping us to shape effective policies with a human touch". A former labour lawyer, Yacob entered politics in 2001. In 2011, she was appointed minister of state for then Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. Yacob is an ardent advocate for the less privileged and has brought attention to various social issues throughout her career, including the treatment of migrant domestic workers, poverty among the elderly and minorities, and the lack of adequate childcare. In the same month that she was elected speaker, Yacob accepted the invitation of Hsieh Fu Hua, president of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), to be an advisor to the agency. NCSS is the umbrella body for about 400 voluntary welfare organisations in Singapore.