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Great progress for S’porean women so far, but more to be done: Grace Fu

SINGAPORE — Singaporean women have made great strides over the past 50 years, but there is more to be done, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu today (April 18) at the PAP Women’s Wing’s 3rd Annual Conference.

Great progress for S’porean women so far, but more to be done: Grace Fu

PAP Women’s Wing EXCO members and female Members of Parliament having a lighthearted moment at the 3rd Annual Women’s Wing Conference held today (April 18, 2015). Photo: PAP Women’s Wing

SINGAPORE — Singaporean women have made great strides over the past 50 years, but there is more to be done, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Grace Fu today (April 18) at the PAP Women’s Wing’s 3rd Annual Conference.

Women here have equal opportunities for education and support to pursue their career and family aspirations; they enjoy peace and security and have also contributed to all aspects of Singapore’s development, she said.

However, society has to remain attuned to the changing needs and aspirations of the different groups of women, said Ms Fu, who chairs the Women’s Wing. She said the group needs to do more in three areas.

Firstly, they need to improve the well-being of women in need and look into the areas where they might require greater support, such as by obtaining maintenance from their ex-husbands or through employment.

Secondly, they need to do more to support women to fulfil their career and family aspirations, such as through encouraging men to step up to share more parental responsibilities, urging for flexible work arrangements and pushing for improvements to the affordability, accessibility and quality of our child care system.

“We also need to champion for women to have greater representation in leadership positions – women are currently under-represented in top management positions,” said Ms Fu.

Women make up half of Singapore’s population, and are an important talent pool, hence it “makes business sense” to tap on them and better leverage the breadth and depth of talent available in Singapore to retain our competitive advantage and better position the country in the global economy, she noted.

She also said more can be done to help women plan for their retirement, and that is where a new financial education programme, called Top Up With Love which was announced today, will come in.

Ms Fu also took the time to pay tribute to the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, whose foresight and wisdom have benefitted generations of Singaporeans, including Singaporean women.

He had, together with other pioneering leaders, laid a strong foundation to protect the rights and welfare of women in Singapore, thus creating a nurturing environment for women to fulfil their potential, she said.

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s life-long dedication to the betterment of Singapore inspires and re-energises us to step up our efforts to improve the lives of current and future generations of Singaporeans,” she added.

On the Women’s Wing’s achievements so far, Ms Fu said they had submitted three Position Papers to the Government in the past three years and a number of the policy recommendations that they developed have borne fruit.

This includes greater support for marriage and parenthood and for women in the workplace, calling for housing policies to help young couples start their families earlier, and calling for the introduction of shared parental leave.

The Government had taken up their suggestion with the increase in supply of public housing and the introduction of new priority schemes for those with young children, and had also introduced paternity leave in addition to shared parental leave, she noted.

On the needs of seniors, the Women’s Wing called for bolder incentives for employers to hire elderly job seekers and in 2014 and 2015, the Ministry of Manpower enhanced the Special Employment Credit for mature workers.

“These examples are a testament to the efforts of many of you in the PAP Women’s Wing, who have worked tirelessly to advocate for change,” said Ms Fu.

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