More equal sharing of caregiving responsibilities, better education on issues of sex and consent, and weeding out banter that objectifies women – these are some of the issues affecting women which advocates want to see considered in a comprehensive review that was announced on Sunday (Sept 20).
Legislating some of these suggestions will send a strong signal on women’s role in Singapore society, but ultimately such efforts must be coupled with education to drive a change in mindset, they added, responding to the Government’s announcement of the review, which aims to bring about deep-seated changes in attitudes towards gender issues.
The review will culminate in a White Paper to be delivered in the first half of next year (2021), said Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam on Sunday (Sept 20).
Executive director for the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) Corinna Lim lauded the initiative, adding it was crucial it addressed the most pressing issues facing women currently.
These include: The societal expectation that women should be the primary caregivers at home, the widespread acceptance of the sexual objectification of women, and the low priority placed by workplaces on issues of discrimination and bias.
“What is most exciting to Aware is the stated approach to review the underlying values and cultural mindset towards women and gender equality, instead of looking only at issues in the short-term. In this regard, we hope that the Government will consider explicitly enshrining gender equality in the Singapore Constitution,” added Ms Lim.
The review will be led by Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam.