20 September 2020
LAUNCH OF “CONVERSATIONS ON WOMEN DEVELOPMENT” TO IDENTIFY AND TACKLE ISSUES AFFECTING WOMEN IN SINGAPORE
1 From October 2020, the Government will be working with partners from the People and Private sectors, as well as youth organisations, to co-organise a series of “Conversations on Women Development”. Feedback and recommendations from these sessions will be consolidated and submitted to the Government in the first half of 2021.
2 This initiative is coordinated by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Government will consider the recommendations and feedback from the conversations in consultation with partners from the People and Private sectors.
3 Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam, announced this at the virtual dialogue session on 20 September titled “Conversations on Women Development”, the first of the series of upcoming engagement sessions. Over 60 participants from youth groups and women organisations participated in discussions on issues that affect women at home, in schools, workplaces and the community.
4 Minister of State for Social and Family Development, and Education, Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry, Low Yen Ling, as well as Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Rahayu Mahzam, also joined in the dialogue session to hear from youths about the issues affecting women that they are most concerned with.
5 Minister of State Sun Xueling, said, “Women in Singapore have progressed significantly over the years, but more can be done to examine issues that affect women at home, in schools, workplaces and the community. When we say women have choices, are they real choices? Are they able to fulfil their potential, be the best that they can be, in an unencumbered fashion that does not require them to settle for second best? I hope our conversations today kickstart many other conversations and as a society, we challenge our mindsets on the issues women wrestle with…caregiving, workplace inequality etc. I look forward to engaging our partners in the people and private sectors to harness ideas on how best to empower, protect and uplift women in Singapore so that we can make further progress on these issues together.”
6 Minister of State Low Yen Ling, said, “Our young people desire to realise their potential and future in a society that gives both women and men equal opportunities to succeed. Through these discussions, we can formulate ways to examine and improve the playing field for women – be it from the world of business, workplace or community, to the arenas of the arts, culture and sports. With collective action, we can close the doors on disparity and discrimination, and continue to widen the stride for Singaporean women. As we allow ourselves to challenge old attitudes and current stereotypes, we will dislodge practices that hinder women’s development and free up our society for greater progress.”
7 Parliamentary Secretary Rahayu Mahzam, said, “COVID-19 has brought to the forefront a slew of issues that women have been facing for years, such as bearing the main caregiving responsibilities in the household, and being held to different standards at the workplace. These are issues that our mothers, daughters and sisters are facing on a daily basis. There may be progress on some fronts but we need everyone to chip in on the way forward for women in Singapore.”
8 Ms Junie Foo, President of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations, was one of the co-facilitators at the dialogue session. She said, “Women and girls make up half the population but gender inequality exists, even in such an advanced country such as ours. The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations is glad to be a partner in this effort to tackle gender inequality and look forward to engaging our members and tapping on their ideas.”
ISSUED BY MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT