Skip to main content
MPH

Heang-Lee Tan

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Amplifying Women’s Voices

Heang-Lee Tan says that she’s always been soft-spoken. Growing up, she often found it difficult to be heard.

“I always thought that the problem was my voice,” she says.

But while majoring in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tan learned that women are often socialized to be quiet and that gender bias impacts whether they are heard. When women aren’t heard, she realized, their rights often become repressed in ways that significantly impact their health.

“I want to bring a gender lens to health policies and systems to help ensure that when women seek health care, they are treated with dignity and respect.”

Intrigued by this idea, Tan took a job after graduation with Women’s Aid Organisation, a Malaysian-based NGO devoted to ending gender-based violence and promoting gender equality. Starting as a press officer and then moving to public policy reform, Tan has worked on several campaigns that jointly promote women’s rights and health: She’s lobbied for laws aimed at preventing stalking, domestic violence, and pregnancy discrimination, and in support of introducing paternity leave.

In her MPH program, Tan is gaining robust research skills that will help her investigate the connections between gender and health.

“I want to bring a gender lens to health policies and systems to help ensure that when women seek health care, they are treated with dignity and respect,” she says.

Profile photo of Heang-Lee Tan

FROM
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

DEGREES
BSc, Dietetics and Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016

PURSUING
MPH