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Nearly 1 in 3 respondents face gender discrimination at work: Survey

SINGAPORE — Nearly one in three Singaporeans responding to a survey, mostly women, have faced gender discrimination in the workplace but only a small number reported the incidents. Of those who did, a majority — or 53.3 per cent — said no satisfactory action was taken.

More women than men in a survey by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that they had experienced gender discrimination in the workplace.

More women than men in a survey by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that they had experienced gender discrimination in the workplace.

Singapore

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  • More than half of the people who took a survey said no satisfactory action was taken after reports were made about gender discrimination at work 
  • The survey collated feedback from 384 respondents — two-thirds of them women
  • It found that 41 per cent of female respondents faced workplace gender discrimination compared to 10 per cent of male respondents

 

SINGAPORE — Nearly one in three Singaporeans responding to a survey, mostly women, have faced gender discrimination in the workplace but only a small number reported the incidents. Of those who did, a majority — or 53.3 per cent — said no satisfactory action was taken.

The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) released these findings on Tuesday (March 30) after surveying 384 respondents — two-thirds of them women.

The survey follows the Government’s announcement last September that it would embark on a review of issues affecting women. This review will form the basis of a White Paper to be tabled in Parliament later this year.

In the SCCCI survey, a majority of the respondents were:

  • Between the ages of 41 and 60 (58.3 per cent)

  • Married (67.7 per cent)

  • University graduates (82.6 per cent)

  • Employed full-time (80.2 per cent)

  • Professionals (32 per cent) and in managerial roles (27.3 per cent)

  • Working in small- and medium-sized enterprises (39.6 per cent) and multinational corporations (34.1 per cent)

The findings were presented at a media conference at the Trade Association Hub on Jurong Town Hall Road.

GENDER DISCRIMINATION AT WORK 

The survey found that 41 per cent of female respondents had encountered gender discrimination in the workplace, as compared to the 10 per cent of male respondents, or about 31 per cent overall.

Of those who experienced gender discrimination, only 12 per cent reported the incidents — none of them men.

The female respondents also either agreed or strongly agreed with:

  • Having experienced gender biases in interactions with customers, suppliers and in networks (36.6 per cent versus 20.5 per cent of male respondents)

  • Gender being a consideration for promotion (40.5 per cent versus 11.8 per cent of male respondents)

  • A wage gap between the different genders for the same rank or job (59.5 per cent versus 19.7 per cent of male respondents)

While close to two-thirds of respondents said that their workplaces provide sufficient support for them to achieve their career aspirations, the survey found that corporate culture and gender stereotypes affect more female respondents than their male counterparts in terms of career advancements.

The culture of favouring a particular gender, and stereotypes that one gender is less competent, are barriers in career advancement for more female respondents (45 per cent) than male respondents (about 30 per cent).

FAMILY AND CAREGIVING COMMITMENTS

The findings showed that male respondents work more hours a week — 28.3 per cent work 60 hours and above as compared to 18.7 per cent of female respondents — but female respondents bear greater responsibility for family and caregiving duties.

About 24.1 per cent of female respondents indicated that they bear more than 75 per cent of this responsibility, compared to 12.6 per cent of male respondents.

One in two female respondents factor in the ability to accommodate family and caregiving demands in their employment choice, while only one in three male respondents did so.

More female respondents also aspire for work-life balance, whereas more male respondents aspire to assume leadership positions in their career.

ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE TACKLED

SCCCI noted that gender discrimination continues to happen in society and workplaces and there needs to be an improved reporting system and processes in place to tackle this.

The chamber recommended raising awareness of gender discrimination at the workplace and addressing the remuneration packages and promotion opportunities, among others.

“Singapore employment laws or guidelines can better address gender discriminatory conduct in the workplace, in particular remuneration gap and promotion opportunities based on gender,” it said.

Delivering closing remarks on Tuesday after the release of the findings, Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development, said that the survey findings are in line with feedback raised during various discussions as part of the Government’s review on women’s issues.

She stressed that gender discrimination and harassment in the workplace are taken very seriously, adding that the Government has imposed stiffer penalties for all forms of discriminatory hiring practices, among others.

Women’s progress is ultimately a “whole-of-society effort” that requires fundamental mindset change, she said.

“In the workplace, we must recognise that women are equally as capable as men, have valuable contributions to share and can be inspirational leaders.

“At home, we must foster a more equal distribution of household and caregiving responsibilities and empower fathers to do their part for the family,” Ms Sun added.

SCCCI president Roland Ng said that while Singapore has advanced to level the playing field for women, promoting gender equality remains an unfinished piece of work.

“I encourage women to continue to challenge themselves, to realise their fullest potential, and the whole of society to continue to render all the necessary support in this journey.”

Infographic: Samuel Woo/TODAY

Related topics

gender workplace discrimination SCCCI Sun Xueling

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