Seizing Opportunities for Women and Girls to Advance in the Digital
1 On behalf of my delegation, I would like to thank the Government of Papua New
Guinea for organising this Forum and extend our appreciation for your warm hospitality.
2 The digital age has brought about unprecedented changes in how we live and
work. This year’s theme is a timely reminder that we must continue empowering
women and girls and promote inclusive opportunities so that no one gets left behind.
Allow me to share Singapore’s experience in enhancing support for women’s
leadership and our partnership efforts.
3 Chair, Singapore is fully committed to the advancement of all women and girls.
Equal opportunities are available to all citizens and founded on the principle of
meritocracy. We aim to provide an enabling environment that supports our people in
maximising their potential and advancing into leadership roles. To this end, we provide equal opportunities and access to resources, and eliminate barriers in the workplace, community, and at home.
Equal opportunities and access to resources
4 Recognising that education is a key enabler, all Singaporean children have
equal access to quality education. In 2017, the literacy rate for women was 95.7%.
Employment is one of the pathways to economic empowerment. Singapore
encourages the adoption of merit-based, fair, responsible and progressive
employment practices. As a result, women in Singapore contribute actively to the
economy. In 2017, the labour force participation rate of women in their prime working
ages of 25 to 54 years was 80.8%. In today’s digital age, we need to continuously train
and upgrade our skills to remain relevant. Initiatives such as the SkillsFuture
movement encourage our people, both women and men, to do so.
5 Women take on many roles at work and at home. We support them in achieving
personal and professional aspirations in several ways. This includes promoting worklife
initiatives, such as flexible work arrangements, to support them in entering and
remaining in the workforce. We also aim to provide affordable, quality and accessible
child care and elder care services. We promote the value of shared-parenting and
equal partnership in the family. For example, we introduced paternity leave for fathers
and enhanced it over the years.
Advancing women’s leadership in Singapore
6 Chair, Singapore actively supports women’s participation in leadership
positions. One of our priorities is to improve women’s representation on corporate
boards. Despite progress in education and employment, women are underrepresented
on boards in Singapore. We formed the Diversity Action Committee (or
DAC) in 2014 to promote women’s representation on corporate boards in Singapore,
and expand the pool of board-ready women. It comprises illustrious leaders from the
people, private and public sectors.
7 In April 2017, DAC set a triple-tier target of 20% by 2020, 25% by 2025 and 30%
by 2030 for women’s representation on boards of listed companies. The DAC’s work
has shown gradual progress. As of June 2018, women’s representation on boards of
top 100 primary-listed companies on the Singapore Exchange was 14.7%, up from
8.6% in 2014.
8 Beyond corporate leadership, women in Singapore are able to enter politics
based on their own merits. They are actively involved as community leaders, engaging
people from all walks of life. We will continue encouraging more women to take on
Partnership with stakeholders
9 Chair, Singapore takes a coordinated whole-of-government approach in
empowering women. The Inter-Ministry Committee on CEDAW implements and
monitors policies and initiatives to address women’s needs under their respective
domain. Where there are cross-cutting issues, we come together to work through them.
10 Concerted efforts from the people, private, and public sectors is also crucial to
continuously enhance the status of women. The DAC is an example of this multistakeholder
11 Another example is the Tripartite Committee on Work-Life Strategy. It
comprises the Government, unions, employers and the human resource associations.
The tripartite partners have made steady progress over the years in promoting the
adoption of flexible work arrangements by employers.
12 Chair, the digital age brings opportunities and challenges for all. I am confident
that this forum will galvanise efforts in empowering all women and girls to seize
opportunities in the digital age.
13 Thank you.