Happy International Women’s Day!
Women all over the world have proved over and over again to what great heights they can achieve. Let’s celebrate those women today who continued to beat all the odds in many male-dominated industries to rise to the top of their professions! These businesswomen built empires worth millions of dollars and impacted countless lives in this generation.
Madam Ho Ching - the CEO of Temasek Holdings. She is one of the most renowned businesswomen internationally. Madam Ho Ching has also consistently set the record of appearing in the Forbes List under the most powerful women category.
Chua Sock Koong is another renowned CFA charter holder who is also the Group CEO at Singtel. Her valuable advice to all women still stands strong today - “ to decide for themselves how they will strike a work-life balance and juggle family and work rather than worry about what they are expected to do by society.”
However, despite all these women achieving glory and recognition, let’s not forget the daily struggles and crisis women have to go through till today at their workplaces. Singapore, a country with a community of people of different genders and races, has yet to achieve such equality at workplaces.
So what are the 3 major loopholes that women in Singapore still face today at workplaces?
Gender Pay Gap
Firstly, there is a huge gender pay gap! Women in Singapore today make up more than half of the working population. However, these same women are being paid a shocking 20% lower salary than men. Furthermore, only 10% of all corporate directors of SGX-limited firms are women and they are paid 43% less than the male corporate directors.
Secondly, women in Singapore are still naturally expected to do more low-wage work as compared to males in the working industry. Occupational Segregation has been a consistent negative implication of this problem on the working industry. Despite a few sectors in the industry evolving over time, there are still a few such as the long-term care sector that to date have a majority of women. Over 90% of paid care work is done by women who earn a measly $1350 on a monthly basis. Personally, I have also seen the majority of caretakers at home and people who help around with house chores consist mostly of female employees/women of the household. The women of the household are naturally required to take over the responsibility of aged parents and kids at home and the husband is designated to be the breadwinner of the family. This introverted thought has also been passed down from generations to generations that today it is extremely difficult for women to break this stereotype. Furthermore, when a woman gives birth or is pregnant she is deemed to be unfit for the workforce and considered as unemployable by higher-ups.
This brings us to our last point - workplaces today remain unfriendly towards women in Singapore.
In the year 2017, 21% of the 500 plus cases registered was involving sexual violence and harassment at the workplace. Harassment at workplaces does have a significant impact on a woman’s psychological and physical well-being. This also hinders women from developing and moving forward independently in a workforce that has already been overpowered by males today. Till today, anti-harassment policies have not been made mandatory yet at all eligible Singapore workplaces. As a young undergraduate woman in today’s working industry, having interned at multiple places and waiting eagerly for my job offers yet to come, many of these statistics intimidate me till today. I fear that everywhere I go, just because I am a female, I would have to work harder than my friends who are males.
As the Youth in Singapore today, we should all collectively make genuine efforts to break as many stereotypes as possible today so that we can make the world a better place for our sisters, mothers and daughters of the future. Every woman deserves to be treated with respect and equality by society at the end of the day!
“Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” –Unknown