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Progress on Singapore Women’s Development 2024

Type: Press Release,

Topic(s): Women Empowerment,

          The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has released the ‘Progress on Singapore Women’s Development’ 2024 report. It is the first report charting the progress of women’s development since the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development1 was published in March 2022. The report encapsulates how Singapore has made good progress across different spheres – including employment, health and protection from violence, while acknowledging the need to continue efforts to address gender stereotypes.

Strong International Ranking in Gender Equality

2          Over the past decade, Singapore has maintained high international rankings on gender equality. In the most recent United Nations Gender Inequality Index (GII)2 released in March 2024, Singapore ranked 8th worldwide (and first in Asia Pacific) for having a low level of gender inequality.

Equal Opportunities in the Workplace

3          Significant strides have also been made in the representation of women at the workplace. Over the past decade (2013-2023), the resident employment rate for females aged 25 to 64 has increased from 69.2% to 76.6%. The gap between male and female employment rate also narrowed to a difference of 12.4 percentage points. In the same period, more women are taking on roles among Professional, Managerial, Executive and Technician (PMET) at 46.7% and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations at 34.3% respectively. The unadjusted gender pay gap in Singapore has narrowed from 16.3% in 2018 to 14.3% in 20233.

4          In leadership roles, women’s representation has also increased. With efforts led by the Council for Board Diversity convened by MSF, the 30% target of women on boards in Statutory Boards has been met. For top 100 SGX-listed companies, the percentage of women on boards has tripled from 7.5% in 2013 to 22.7% as at June 2023.

Improvements in support for caregivers, women’s health and elimination of violence

5          Encouraging greater shared parental responsibility between women and men in caregiving is a continuous process. To encourage shared parental responsibility, Government-Paid Paternity Leave was introduced, and take-up rates have increased from 47% in 2016 to 53% in 2021. To enable fathers to be more involved in caring for their children, the Government has doubled Government-Paid Paternity Leave from two weeks to four weeks in 2024, with the additional two weeks provided on a voluntary basis.

6          Healthcare services have been improved for different groups of women in areas such as maternal and child health, and senior care services. These include easy access to quality maternal care services and resources for parenthood, as well as national initiatives such as Healthier SG and Age Well SG to support all Singaporeans and residents, including women, in taking care of their health. From 2014 to 2022, there has been an increase in the number of females aged 15 years who have received the HPV vaccine, from 1.3% to 89.4%. To better support caregivers, including women, we enhanced the Home Caregiving Grant in March 2023, which has benefitted about 44,000 individuals in 2023.

7          Online harms have also emerged as a new form of threat to women’s safety in today’s digital era. Female youths were more at risk for online harms of a sexual nature, with 22% having experienced sexual harassment online, compared to 12% of male youths, according to a 2023 survey conducted by SG Her Empowerment. A new Online Criminal Harms Act was passed in July 2023 to empower the Government to direct online service providers, which include social media platforms and messaging apps, to prevent accounts and content perpetrating crimes from interacting with or reaching Singapore users.

8          To address family violence, the Women’s Charter was amended in 2023. It empowers victim-survivors to better protect themselves, strengthens the Government’s ability to intervene in family violence cases and allows the Court to make additional rehabilitative provisions, raise penalties and strengthen enforcement against breaches. The legislative amendments also made clearer that the definition of family violence covers physical, sexual, and emotional or psychological abuse. The 24-hour Domestic Violence Emergency Response Team (DVERT) was also launched in 2023. MSF staff trained in areas such as social work and psychology, and the Police can respond jointly to give more timely intervention for family violence cases with immediate safety risks by issuing Emergency Orders on site in high-risk cases.

Strengthening efforts for next bound of progress

9          According to a 2022 Quality of Life Survey by the National Council of Social Service, the majority of caregivers (60%) are women. To further support women in managing caregiving responsibilities, the Government, in partnership with tripartite, corporate and community partners, has embarked on the following:

             a.         The Tripartite Guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) Requests, which will come into effect on 1 Dec 2024. Greater access to FWAs will enable men and women to better manage their work, personal and family commitments.

             b.         A three-year infant childminding pilot will be launched by the Early Childhood Development Agency to grow affordable, safe, and reliable childminding services as an alternative infant care option for parents.

10         Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development and Home Affairs said: “It is encouraging to see that our women have continued to make progress at home, at work and in society since the White Paper was published two years ago. This was only made possible through the collective efforts of the community, corporates, schools and Government. All of us can and continue to do more so that men and women can partner each other as equals and both can pursue their aspirations freely and fully. We need to shift mindsets on gender roles and address challenges that women face to advance towards a fairer and more inclusive society.”

11         The ‘Progress on Singapore Women’s Development’ 2024 report can be found on the MSF website at




1 The White Paper ( reflects the shared vision of Singaporeans and outlines concrete actions we are prepared to take collectively, towards a fairer and more inclusive society.

2 The UN GII is a composite measure of gender inequality along three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment (in terms of education and participation in politics), and the labour market. The report is available on and the ranking is in Table 5, page 293 of the report.

3 Refers to the unadjusted median gender pay gap of full-time resident employees aged 25 to 54.


Annex A - Quotes from Community Partners

“The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisation (SCWO) believes in empowering women to strive for the ideals of Equal Space, Equal Voice, and Equal Worth. While Singapore women have made progress, they continue to face challenges in certain domains. The SCWO and its member organisations will continue to partner with the Government to identify obstacles women face, outline the solutions we believe are needed, and change mindsets to shape a society that is fairer and more inclusive.”

[Koh Yan Ping, CEO, SCWO]

“SHE supports the Government’s commitment to shift mindsets and break traditional gender stereotypes. SHE is committed to driving the gender equality conversation forward, by engaging in more Singapore-based research, and by focusing on outreach and education to effect positive mindset changes needed to build a more fair and equal society. We will also re-double our efforts to ensure that the world is a safer place for women and girls, both online and in the physical realm. There's a lot to do, but by working together – women and our male allies - and focusing on real actions we all can take, we can make a more equitable society for everyone, women and men.”
[Stefanie Yuen Thio, Chair, SG Her Empowerment (SHE)]

“Men play a crucial role in challenging and re-shaping traditional family stereotypes. Fathers influence family norms, values, and practices. By modelling respect, equality, and shared responsibilities at home, they can empower their children to build a future where both men and women are empowered to pursue their aspirations with each other’s support.”
[Dr Xander Ong, CEO, Centre for Fathering]


Annex B - Glossary of Terms