In this year-end roundup series, Petir.sg looks back at key moments of 2022.
Parliament unanimously endorsed the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development on Apr 5.
This Paper builds “a fairer, more inclusive society, where women and men partnering each other as equals can pursue their aspirations freely and to the fullest,” said Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo.
Other leaders, such as Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung and Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli, echoed this sentiment.
“It speaks with the voices of Singaporeans who care deeply about women,” added Minister Teo about the Paper.
She acknowledged that the Paper took in feedback from a year-long nationwide conversations with our fellow Singaporeans.
The Paper’s comprehensive 25 action plans spread across five key areas: These areas are equal opportunities in the workplace, recognition and support for caregivers, protection against violence and harm, other support measures for women such as elective egg-freezing and mindset shifts.
1. Equal opportunities in the workplace
Workplace fairness is stronger with new legislation. Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment protect the identities of people who report workplace grievances and disallow retaliation against them.
Similar guidelines on Flexible Work Arrangements let women participate in work more fully and the Council for Board Diversity looks at increasing women’s representation on boards.
2. Recognition and support for caregivers
Where women carry most of the caregiving load, these action plans ease the caregiving load with a broadened Household Services Schemes including child and elder-minding services.
And aid like the expanded Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund can better help with buying mobility and active devices such as wheelchairs; this relieves caregivers’ financial strain and encourages community-based care.
3. Protection against violence and harm
More penalties for sexual offences. More protection against family violence and online harm. A national framework for protecting athletes against misconduct. And a culture of safety and respect nurtured at every level of education from kindergarten to university.
After all, Singapore must be a place where everyone can feel safe.
4. Other support measures for women
Particularly those with lower-income, single parents and divorcees. An expanded KidSTART programme provides more all-round support to families with young children while the Mandatory Parenting Programme and the Family Assist website help divorcees make better-informed decisions for their children.
Elective egg-freezing for women aged 21-35 years is possible too, regardless of their marital status.
5. Mindset shifts
The Women’s Charter was updated to reflect that women are legally equal to men, particularly within marriage. Gender-based stereotypes are being addressed in school curriculums, and the Singapore Standards Council will develop gender-responsive standards under the Singapore Standardisation Programme.
A public garden in the heart of Singapore is upcoming too. This will reflect the enduring importance of Singapore women’s development for our society.
Top image credit: Parliament of Singapore, White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development.