The People’s Action Party (PAP) and the PAP Women’s Wing is taking action to combat online harms through education and empowerment.
Since its beginning, the Party and the PAP Women’s Wing have championed women’s development in Singapore, pushing for change and shaping policies for women in Singapore to live out their fullest potential. In today’s digital age, the Party recognises that these hard-won gains must not be eroded by the emergence of online behaviour that is disrespectful of women, or which objectifies them.
Taking action against online harms was hence identified as the focus for its International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations this year. At its IWD event today, the Party recognised 1,500 activists across all its 93 branches today for readying themselves to support victims of online harms, particularly women and girls. Through a series of preparatory activities over the last two months, activists have been educating themselves about the nature of online harms, and familiarising themselves with the perspective of victims, with the objective of being better listeners and empathic supporters when victims approach Meet-the-People sessions or other outreach channels for help. This strengthens the Party’s commitment towards uplifting and protecting our girls and women.
Mrs Josephine Teo, Chairwoman of the PAP Women’s Wing, said: “We’ve made Singapore safe for everyone. This should be the case whether in the physical or digital domain. However, we know girls and women are sometimes threatened by behaviours, information or activities online. We want to rally the wider community to take action and together, empower women to keep themselves safe when they go online.”
Beyond the series of community dialogues, surveys and training workshops that had been organised by the Women‘s Wing to educate and raise awareness on the nature and impact of online harms, all PAP branches have also been issued a toolkit on ‘Supporting Residents Facing Online Harms’, specially developed to further guide and equip volunteers and Meet-the-People-session writers with the necessary skills to respond to victims in a sensitive and effective manner.
With these resources and structures in place, the Women’s Wing International Women’s Day celebrations culminated on 5 March with an event that invited the larger community to lean in and contribute in their own ways. Besides recognising the Party’s activists for their commitment towards tackling online harms, the event also witnessed a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Trade Union Congress U Women and Family (WAF) and 22 small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), who pledged to implement a robust policy framework to prevent and manage workplace harassment, including online abuse.
The larger community takes #ActionForHer
The event also marked the final month of the ongoing #ActionForHer initiative – the Party’s invitation to Singaporeans to join in its endeavour to support and uplift the women in Singapore. Since its launch in September 2021, a total of more than 130,000 pledges of action have been committed.
Some of the pledges of action that have been submitted by members of the public at ActionForHer.sg
#ActionForHer also found solidarity among the local business community, with like-minded partners like the Asia Sustainability Forum, BuyTogetherCheaper, Eysy, heritance, McGraw Hill, NTUC U Women & Family, PAP Community Foundation, Times Group and more stepping forward to further this cause in their own ways. The NTUC U WAF team, for instance, rallied the Labour Movement to show solidarity for women in the workforce through a twin campaign, #SolidarityForHer, which garnered pledges from close to 4,500 individuals and union leaders from 33 unions.
Mrs Josephine Teo added, “We are very encouraged by how deeply this cause and campaign resonated with Singaporeans of all ages, people from all walks of life. With the realisation that any individual can make a real difference through their actions, many took the opportunity to express support for the women in their lives. I hope this has helped to spark lasting positive change for these women.”