SINGAPORE – The women’s and youth wings of the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) released two separate papers on Thursday (July 29), each calling on the Government to take action to tackle discrimination and advance women’s development in Singapore.
Each paper made a slew of recommendations in response to the Government’s announcement last September that it would conduct a thorough review of issues related to women and gender equality. The review will culminate in a White Paper to be introduced in Parliament later this year.
Both papers made calls for anti-discrimination legislation to give working women – especially pregnant women and mothers – better protections in the workplace. Another common topic concerned sexual education in schools, with both papers putting forward recommendations to enhance the curriculum and keep it up to date.
In putting together its joint paper, the PAP team conducted surveys and dialogue sessions with about 1,500 people, who raised issues facing women in schools, workplaces and at home.
The 31-page PAP paper covered three areas: giving women more options to balance their careers with other obligations, promoting more equal sharing of caregiving responsibilities between men and women, and changing mindsets on gender norms and stereotypes.
Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, who chairs the PAP Women’s Wing, said the PAP team hopes the Government will incorporate its 12 recommendations into the upcoming White Paper. “Our recommendations reflect the aspirations and pressing concerns of women today,” she said. “They are achievable and impactful steps to set new foundations for the future of Singapore women, and empower them to live out their fullest potential at home, work and in society.”
Aware’s 242-page “omnibus report” focused on various forms of discrimination and violence against women, including sexual assault. It presented 88 recommendations based on its primary research and the experiences of its women’s and sexual assault care centres in supporting vulnerable women.
Aware said it also conducted policy research and consultations with academics, policymakers and community groups like the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, which champions migrant workers’ rights; the Disabled People’s Association; and Project X, which provides social support to sex workers.
Aware executive director Corinna Lim said the report provides the fullest picture to date of the state of gender equality here.
“We hope (the Government) will seriously consider these proposals in their White Paper and accelerate Singapore towards a future free of discrimination, violence and other forms of oppression. We want generations of women to look back at 2021 as a pivotal year for gender in this country,” she said.