To begin, some statistics about women in Singapore:
- Singapore ranks 7th worldwide for gender equality, according to the latest UN Human Development Report; this is up from 9th in the previous Report
- Three in four women aged 25 to 64 are employed
- Graduate women made up almost half of Singapore’s resident population aged 25 years and above
- Around 40 per cent of Singapore’s tech professionals are women — a third above the global average of 28 per cent
Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling shared this information with the United Nations last Thursday (Mar 9) at the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Where the Session’s theme focused on innovation, technological change and education for empowering women and girls in the digital age, MOS Sun reaffirmed the PAP Government’s longstanding commitment towards gender equality.
“Empowering our women and girls to access and use technology will bring about inclusive, sustainable growth in this digital age,” said MOS Sun.
MOS Sun also highlighted the recent White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development and the Online Safety Act as concrete and inclusive Government action for women.
An abridged version of her UN address follows:
Progress: The White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development
While we have made good progress, there is always more that can be done. Last year, Singapore published the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development, developed in consultation with Singaporeans from various walks of life, including men and youths, over a year-long nationwide engagement.
The White Paper reflects our shared vision where men and women partner each other as equals to fulfil their aspirations freely and fully, including in the family — the bedrock of our societies, and where this equal partnership is nurtured and promoted.
It sets out 25 action plans by the Government and the community in areas most salient to women, such as equal opportunities in the workplace, recognition and support for caregivers and protection from violence and harm. We will update Parliament on the progress of our action plans every five years.
Protection: The Online Safety Act
The Government passed a new Online Safety Act after extensive consultation with stakeholders, which took effect on Feb 1, 2023. Social media services will be required to minimise Singapore users’ exposure to harmful content and empower users with tools to manage their own safety. Social media services will have to make available an easy-to-use mechanism for Singapore users to report harmful content and unwanted interactions and provide transparency on the effectiveness of their measures in protecting Singapore users from harmful content and thus ensure online safety.
The Online Safety Act is complemented by the Protection from Harassment Act which criminalises harassment and doxxing. A dedicated Protection from Harassment Court was established in 2021.
To manage their own safety, our children or their parents will also be equipped with knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions when using online services. Starting from primary schools, children are taught lessons on cyber-wellness and online safety.
The pathway forward: Mindset shifts
Mindset shifts away from gender stereotypes are necessary for more progress, further shared MOS Sun.
“This requires a whole-of-society effort,” she said.
She called upon parents and schools to foster respect as well as to encourage learning pathways in line with a person’s particular interests, “including in STEM”.
MOS Sun also called for employers and colleagues to eschew stereotypical assumptions and instead support women towards their full potential.
These are big commitments so that women can soar, Petir.sg notes. That’s because good things simply do not happen overnight.
The PAP Government, as well as its Women’s Wing, as its track record shows, will regardless always be there to be the wind beneath these wings.
Source: Sun Xueling Facebook