Women’s Development White Paper Honors Singapore Women and Commits to Continued Progress: Josephine Teo
SINGAPORE: The Women’s Development White Paper is ultimately about honoring the women of Singapore, recognizing their place in society and committing to making further progress for them, the minister for women said on Tuesday (April 5th). Communications and Information, Josephine Teo.
Closing a debate in Parliament that lasted more than nine hours, Ms Teo noted that the greatest contribution of the discussion was to “defend the values that we hold dear as a society”.
These values will also serve as a “north star” as Singapore seeks the next steps in women’s development, she said.
Specifically, she described three of those values that underpin women’s development here: equality of men and women, the value of partnership, and mutual respect between the two groups.
EQUALITY, PARTNERSHIP AND RESPECT
Firstly, while history is replete with examples of women being subjugated by men, Ms Teo said the debate has shown that such “women’s narrowness” is firmly rejected in Singapore.
“No one doubts that women in Singapore should have the same opportunities to pursue their aspirations as men do.”
The debate, attended by more than 40 MPs, also confirmed the value of partnership – such as between men and women, at work and at home, she said.
“We believe that more for girls and women does not mean less for boys and men. Workplace equity and caregiver support benefit both women and men.
“In a true partnership, each benefits from the growth of the other. It’s the only sustainable way forward.
A third core value is that of mutual respect between women and men, she said.
“Mutual respect shapes our attitudes and beliefs about women and men. They reach corners of our minds that laws, regulations, guidelines and practices will never fully reach.
“They determine the culture and the norms in which we all live.”
This respect also means that women should not be exploited, marginalized or stereotyped. Instead, they should be recognized for their contributions and empowered to succeed, she said.