SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party (PAP) women’s wing will be setting up two new groups looking at research and policy to help it better address the issues faced by women in Singapore, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said Saturday (March 6).
The research group, led by Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Yeo Wan Ling, will look into emerging trends – such as remote working – and their impact on women, said Mrs Teo, who is also chair of the PAP women’s wing.
“For example, how can remote working help women juggle their roles as caregivers, and yet not become marginalised when it comes to career progression?” said Mrs Teo during an event in Punggol held ahead of International Women’s Day on Monday.
This group will also sharpen its sensing of women’s views, on topical issues such as Primary One registration rules and the new sentencing framework Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam spoke about in Parliament on Friday.
Mr Shanmugam had said that the maximum penalties for three sexual offences are set to be raised following a review of penalties for hurt and sexual offences.
The PAP women’s wing had in July last year expressed its serious concerns about the apparent inadequate sentences meted out in several cases, Mrs Teo said.
The second group, focusing on policy, will be led by Ms Hany Soh, an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
Mrs Teo said: “With 24 women in Parliament, the (PAP women’s wing) can give voice to concerns of women through the questions they file, the bills, motions and debates they speak on.”
As an extension of the research work, the women’s wing can also advocate for improvements and set out recommendations through position papers, she added.
The women’s wing has since 2012 put out six position papers ranging on issues from marriage and parenthood, seniors in Singapore, and strengthening gender diversity in corporate leadership.
“Our vision has been to empower every woman in Singapore,” said Mrs Teo.
She added that understanding how other nations approach women’s issues and providing policy inputs to the Government are two areas of growing interest among party activists.
“This is a natural progression from our ground activism and also reflects the evolving profile of our women activists,” she added during Saturday’s event, a fashion show of “reimagined” work outfits made from recycled material for women in various occupations, from gardener to plumber and harbour pilot.
The event, jointly organised by the PAP’s women’s wing and the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Women and Family Unit, also kickstarted a month-long series of events on women’s issues, including webinars and a career fair featuring jobs specially curated for women that offer flexibility for caregiving responsibilities.
Mrs Teo was joined by NTUC president Mary Liew; Ms Yeo, who is director of the NTUC Women and Family Unit as well as Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and National Development.
Ms Sim is also organising chair of the PAP Women’s Wing International Women’s Day 2021.
Ms Yeo said a fashion show was selected to mark the day because it was visual.
The show was an opportunity to let people see how job pathways and livelihoods can be re-imagined in a very visual way, she said.
“It’s actually to touch the hearts and imaginations of all our young females who are wanting to return to work… whether or not it is a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)… or the types of work that we think right only men could do previously but actually right now, there’s no gender bias,” Ms Yeo added.
The Punggol fashion show was part of a slew of other International Women’s Day events that took place on Saturday islandwide, all of which featured a strong sustainability element.
For instance, in central Singapore, Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Nadia Samdin was joined by other party activists on a tour of Sprout Hub, one of Singapore’s largest urban farms growing strawberries, rearing chickens, and black soldier flies. They also attended a composting workshop.
Meanwhile, West Coast GRC MP Rachel Ong led women in upcycling unused clothes into mask straps, that were later distributed to members of the public.
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