The People’s Action Party (PAP) Women’s Wing has called for stronger support for families in Singapore, especially towards women at the workplace and in the community.
Since its inception, the Party has always championed and advanced women’s development in Singapore, pushing for change, increasing support and opportunities for women to realise their potential. The Women’s Wing puts ideas into action through ground-up initiatives and advocacy in Parliament. It also organised fundraising activities to help various beneficiaries for women and children during Mothers’ Day in the last three years.
In support of the national White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development, the Women’s Wing submitted a report to the government consisting of 12 recommendations in 2021. The key recommendations included protecting women against workplace discrimination and harassment, better support network for women to re-enter the workforce, promoting more equal sharing of caregiving responsibilities, and enhancing support for caregivers.
As part of ongoing efforts to see through the above, the Women’s Wing underpinned its annual conference on the theme of support for families in Singapore, against the backdrop of declining birth rates, ageing population, and heavier caregiving responsibilities.
Chairwoman of the PAP Women’s Wing Sim Ann said, “Strong and stable families are the bedrock of our society. We recognise that women are one of the key pillars of every family. The PAP Women’s Wing has been championing for Singaporean women’s development. We are grateful to the partners and friends who have been journeying with us. We hope to invite more partners to come forward to join us in pushing for more support, resources, and services to enable women to be cared for, supported, and to thrive in every aspect of their lives. They can in turn better support their families while having the confidence to pursue their ambitions.”
In a panel discussion moderated by Co-Founder of The Idea Co Vivian Lim, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah, entrepreneur-cum-mother of two children Chua Wei-Shan, Head of Outreach and Engagement for Centre for Fathering Eruandee Prayitna, and Chief Executive Officer of Montfort Care Samuel Ng (BBM), discussed the challenges that families face in Singapore and how society can better support families. These include involving the community to support caregivers, enabling greater sharing of caregiving responsibilities among family members, and increasing availability of flexible work arrangements.
Supporting women in their roles at work and at home
A key segment of the conference was the learning journeys that illustrated ground-up initiatives that PAP Members of Parliament and partner organisations have initiated to support women in Singapore both at work and at home:
- Providing progressive workplaces for women
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Director of National Trades Union Congress Women and Family (U WAF) Yeo Wan Ling shared how Chye Thiam Maintenance Pte Ltd (CTM), an environmental services provider, created a supportive environment where women re-entering the workforce could thrive. This included flexible training to build up their confidence and redesigning the role with flexible work arrangements to enable women returners with caregiving responsibilities to transit back into the workforce with ease.
Chief Executive Officer of CTM Edy Tan also spoke about how women re-entering the workforce are bringing value to his company and the opportunities for learning and growth in the environment services sector.
U WAF and CTM organised a career exploratory journey for 15 women who were keen to embark on the CUB (C U Back at Work!) programme which provides support to women re-entering the workforce.
- Supporting caregiving as a community
SG Assist co-founders Adrian Tan and Greg Tan highlighted the need to create a nurturing ecosystem for caregivers, and how everyone can contribute to the community and help lighten the load of caregivers.
They also shared about the learning journey it organised at Nee Soon South. 40 participants, including students and employers, embarked on a three-hour learning journey with MP for Nee Soon GRC Carrie Tan to enhance their understanding of caregiving and various community support such as the amenities, services, and community-driven initiatives to support caregivers and the elder community.
- Promoting collaborative parenting
Volunteer with Centre for Fathering Ganesan Maniam shared useful tips on collaborative parenting with fathers at a bowling session organised by the non-profit organisation and PAP Keat Hong Branch. MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim participated in the session where participants also exchanged ideas on how to be more actively involved in their children’s development.
During the sharing at the conference, Lim Wei Wah, a participant also shared how he hoped that the learning journey would inspire his children to appreciate the value of parenthood.
Move forward as one, in unity
PAP Women’s Wing has seen strengthened support for women across different aspects of life and will continue to put in the work to set strong foundations for the future of women in Singapore. PAP MPs will also continue to push for changes towards strengthening support for families.
Organising Chairwoman of the Women’s Wing Conference 2023 and MP for Marymount SMC Gan Siow Huang said, “It will take concerted efforts by the society to shift gender stereotypes and expectations. Be it at home, workplace, or community, when women and men partner each other as equals, it not only helps lighten the load for each other but also enables growth.”
Refer to Organising Chair Gan Siow Huang’s conference highlights.
Career exploratory journey on CUB (C U Back at Work!) programme
There are 260,000 women who are not in the workforce due to caregiving and family duties. National Trades Union Congress U Women and Family (U WAF) believes that flexible work arrangements will help women stay in the workplace and can attract women to re-enter the workforce.
On 7 June 2023, U WAF, together with Chye Thiam Maintenance Pte Ltd (CTM), organised a career exploratory journey for 15 women who were interested to re-enter the workforce and embark on the CUB Programme. This first-of-its-kind programme was launched in April 2023 to provide women re-entering workforce with flexible training and work arrangements so that they can transit back into the workforce with ease.
During the session, participants met the CEO of CTM and hiring managers for the CUB programme to find out more about the programme and the progression opportunities. Participants who were keen on the programme could then attend onsite interviews. NTUC Women Supporting Women Mentors were also onsite to support the participants.
Learning journey on caregiving as a community
On 10 June 2023, SG Assist and Carrie Tan’s team organised a learning journey at Nee Soon South for 40 participants to learn more about supporting caregivers as a community.
The specially curated experience started with participants learning about the caregiving journey framework, a video sharing the challenges and realities of caregiving, followed by a community walk around Nee Soon South constituency to see the dementia-friendly features such as dementia-go-to points within the estate. The session ended with a visit to the Caregiver Resource Centre, a vital touchpoint that offers a wide range of support and resources for caregivers.
Through this learning journey, participants can better understand how they can play a part in creating a supportive and inclusive community for caregivers and those they care for.
Bowling with dads and sharing by DADs for Life
On 10 June 2023, PAP Keat Hong Branch and Centre for Fathering organised a bowling session for 14 fathers aged 30 to 50 years old with their children at Keat Hong Superbowl. Mustaffa Bin Osman from the DADs for Life movement, an initiative of Centre for Fathering, gave participants useful tips on parenting and the importance of parents’ involvement in the healthy development and long-term success of their children’s lives.
Participants also exchanged their parenting experiences of being more involved. These include volunteering with the parents support group in their child’s primary school, attending father-child bonding activities, and getting their children to be involved in their own voluntary work, empowering their children to contribute in their own ways.