More than 5,700 participants across 160 conversations on women. The participants contributed their feedback and suggestions. These will be consolidated into a White Paper and submitted to the government.
This year – 2021 – was dedicated to the Year of Celebrating SG Women.
Last year, on 20 September 2020, the MSF announced in a press release, the launch of “CONVERSATIONS ON WOMEN DEVELOPMENT” to identify and tackle issues affecting women in Singapore.
Minister of State for Social and Family Development, and Education, Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry, Low Yen Ling, as well as Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Rahayu Mahzam co-chaired the conversations.
At that time, MOS Sun Xueling said, “Women in Singapore have progressed significantly over the years, but more can be done to examine issues that affect women at home, in schools, workplaces and the community. When we say women have choices, are they real choices? Are they able to fulfil their potential, be the best that they can be, in an unencumbered fashion that does not require them to settle for second best? I hope our conversations today kickstart many other conversations and as a society, we challenge our mindsets on the issues women wrestle with… caregiving, workplace inequality etc. I look forward to engaging our partners in the people and private sectors to harness ideas on how best to empower, protect and uplift women in Singapore so that we can make further progress on these issues together.”
Minister of State Low Yen Ling, said, “Our young people desire to realise their potential and future in a society that gives both women and men equal opportunities to succeed. Through these discussions, we can formulate ways to examine and improve the playing field for women – be it from the world of business, workplace or community, to the arenas of the arts, culture and sports. With collective action, we can close the doors on disparity and discrimination, and continue to widen the stride for Singaporean women. As we allow ourselves to challenge old attitudes and current stereotypes, we will dislodge practices that hinder women’s development and free up our society for greater progress.”
Parliamentary Secretary Rahayu Mahzam, said, “COVID-19 has brought to the forefront a slew of issues that women have been facing for years, such as bearing the main caregiving responsibilities in the household and being held to different standards at the workplace. These are issues that our mothers, daughters and sisters are facing on a daily basis. There may be progress on some fronts but we need everyone to chip in on the way forward for women in Singapore.”
In a recent debate in Parliament, MOS Sun Xueling spoke at length during which she gave a captivating historical account of the PAP’s journey to improve women’s welfare, rights and development, and the steps the PAP had taken to keep all their promises made in their manifestos to women.
Speaking at the motion filed by the WP He Tingru, Xueling elaborated on the progress through the years, the continuing conversations right up to today and the White Paper that the PAP will soon put forth after consolidating all the views they had gathered through feedback from thousands of people including men and various organisations. She also invited the WP to add their views to the feedback they had gathered.
In a Facebook post today (20 August 2021), Xueling was happy to share lovely hand-sewn masks and tote bags to celebrate SG women.
These commemorative themed masks and tote bags are a collaboration between i’mable Collective makers, Singapore Fashion Runway and Bizlink Centre Singapore Ltd.
“I am especially heartened by these partnerships as it embodies the inclusiveness in our society that we are collectively striving for,” Xueling said. “Xiu Zhen, who has cerebral palsy and is partially hearing impaired, helped to sew and pack the masks. She also helps to train youths with special needs in sewing, retailing and logistics as part of her work with the Singapore Fashion Runway. She is an inspiration to us,” she added. Indeed!
We are eagerly waiting for the White Paper. What about you?