Singapore Makes Significant Gains in Women's Development

Singapore ranks 8th globally in the UN's Gender Inequality Index, with notable gains in employment, health, and protection from violence. The country's resident female employment rate has risen to 76.6%, and women's representation in leadership roles has improved.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Singapore Makes Significant Gains in Women's Development

Singapore Makes Significant Gains in Women's Development

Singapore has made substantial progress in women's development, ranking 8th globally in the United Nations Gender Inequality Index, according to the Progress on Singapore Women's Development 2024 report. The city-state has achieved a low level of gender inequality, with notable gains in employment, health, and protection from violence.

Why this matters: This progress in women's development has significant implications for the country's social and economic growth, as it can lead to a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Moreover, Singapore's achievements can serve as a model for other nations to follow in their own pursuit of gender equality.

The report, the first to track women's development since the White Paper on Singapore Women's Development was published in March 2022, highlights significant improvements in various areas. The resident employment rate for females aged 25 to 64 has risen from 69.2% to 76.6% between 2013 and 2023, narrowing the gender employment gap to 12.4 percentage points.

Women's representation in leadership roles has also improved, with 30% of women on boards in Statutory Boards and 22.7% on the boards of the top 100 SGX-listed companies as of June 2023. More women are taking on roles in Professional, Managerial, Executive, and Technician (PMET) occupations at 46.7% and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations at 34.3%. The unadjusted gender pay gap has also narrowed from 16.3% in 2018 to 14.3% in 2023.

In the area of health, the number of women aged 15 years who have received the HPV vaccine has increased significantly from 1.3% in 2014 to 89.4% in 2022. The government has also introduced and expanded initiatives to support women in managing caregiving responsibilities, such as the Government-Paid Paternity Leave, which saw take-up rates rise from 47% in 2016 to 53% in 2022.

Minister of State for Social and Family Development and Home Affairs Sun Xueling emphasized the collective efforts that have led to these advancements: "It is encouraging to see that our women have continued to make progress at home, at work and in society since the White Paper was published two years ago. This was only made possible through the collective efforts of the community, corporates, schools and Government." New guard ready for foreign policy tests, says outgoing PM Lee.

Despite the progress, the report also highlights the need to address gender stereotypes and continue efforts towards a fairer and more inclusive society. Sun Xueling added, "All of us can and continue to do more so that men and women can partner each other as equals and both can pursue their aspirations freely and fully. We need to shift mindsets on gender roles and address challenges that women face to advance towards a fairer and more inclusive society."

Singapore's progress in women's development, as evidenced by the 2024 report, showcases the city-state's commitment to gender equality. The significant gains in employment, health, and protection from violence demonstrate the effectiveness of collective efforts from the government, community, and corporate sectors. As Singapore continues to address remaining challenges and shift mindsets on gender roles, it serves as an example for other nations striving towards a more inclusive and equitable society.