S’pore women’s development may have reached high base but PAP govt wants to further strengthen it: Josephine Teo

Singapore women’s development has reached a very high base and while some may have felt no urgency to improve things, the PAP Government wants to further strengthen the position of women in our society, said Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo.

She was addressing the House on Apr 5, 2022 at the start of the debate on the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development, which was presented last month.

Minister Teo reminded the House on what the new PAP government did when it first assumed office.

“Soon after we attained self-government, the women of Singapore achieved a historic triumph. On assuming office, almost the first thing the new PAP Government did was to pass the Women’s Charter in 1961.”

The Women’s Charter institutionalised the rights and responsibilities of men and women in marriage and ensured the protection and welfare of women in Singapore.

“Last year was the 60th anniversary of the Women’s Charter. We believed it was timely to renew the pledge our founding leaders made so many years ago, to further elevate the position of women in Singapore,” she added.

The daily battles women may still face

Minister Teo also highlighted the daily battles women may still face and urged Singapore not to shy away from dealing with these battles.

These include:

– the battle with time to fulfil multiple roles and responsibilities;

– the battle for recognition of the challenges women and girls face, much more than men and boys;

– the battle with sexual predators who, having been tamed in analogue Singapore, now rear their ugly heads in our digital world;

– the battle with social expectations on what work we do, what chores we share, what words we say, and even what clothes we wear;

– the battle within women as to how much of themselves to give and how much to save for self-care.

“To help women advance, we must not shy away from dealing with these battles.”

Minister Teo reminded that the progress of women must always be seen as a journey without end, where every achievement is a foundation to aim for new highs.

“In every generation, we have a duty to find new ways to uplift women. If half of humanity does not progress, how can the rest of humanity?”

Though the most challenging, she added that two key elements of the motion that can move the needle for women are namely how to further catalyse collective actions and how to further promote equal partnership between women and men.