“gender Equality And Women’s Rights: How Lawyers Drive Progress” – Patriarchal values, and stereotypes about gender roles – such as a woman being in charge of domestic affairs and a man a supporting role – are still deeply rooted in Singaporean society, gender equality advocates said.

Despite being unemployed for the past 20 years, he does little to help with household chores such as cleaning the house – he lets his 54-year-old wife do it even though she has to work extra hours about 10 office.

“gender Equality And Women’s Rights: How Lawyers Drive Progress”

“It’s very difficult to ask him to do anything,” said Mme Joana of Mandarin about her 27-year-old husband who is a year younger than her. He declined to give his full name.

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Although she sometimes feels annoyed, Mme Joana, who has two children, said she could only tolerate when it comes to the unequal distribution of their household duties.

“Yes, I feel that it is not fair. But men and women are also different…

Then, there is Mrs Hannah (not her real name) who picks up her children from daycare, cooks for her family of five and does the housework – after hours about 10 in his teaching job every day.

Every day, like clockwork, either her mother or her mother-in-law would call her asking if she had finished cooking and bathing her three young children before her husband. the electrician came home.

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“For them, my work is secondary, and it should not come before my husband and children,” said the 31-year-old. full-time to another full-time job.”

Mme Joana and Mme Hannah are not the only women in labor who had to take on more family responsibilities even when they were working full-time.

Almost 60 years after the landmark Women’s Charter was passed in Singapore to protect and advance women’s rights, gender equality remains elusive – although strides have been made some about the breakdown of the political glass ceiling.

“When we talk about basic values, we have to go to the roots of patriarchal practices, which is our daily life, social culture… family, to mother, mother to children, etc.,” said the Queen Constance Singam, a long-time advocate for gender equality.

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Patriarchal values, and stereotypes about gender roles – such as a woman being in charge of domestic affairs, and a man playing a supporting role – remain deeply entrenched in society.

Media reports of sexual violence against women and voyeurism court cases involving female victims also suggest that respect for women in Singapore is not yet deeply embedded in the country’s DNA .

The government is now determined to deal with all this by embarking on its first comprehensive assessment of issues affecting women in urban areas.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said on Sep 20 that the initiative aims to change Singapore’s culture and attitudes towards gender equality and respect for women.

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This analysis, called “Discussions on the Development of Women”, will culminate in a White Paper whose aim is to create a path towards gender equality.

READ: Women’s debate goes beyond the law, aims to ‘deepen’ gender equality in society: Shanmugam LISTEN: On women in the workplace, elections and more – K Shanmugam speaks out Heart of the Matter podcast

“Every boy and girl must grow up appreciating the importance of gender equality. They need to be taught from a young age that boys and girls should be treated with equal respect,” he said in the first of a series of interviews to be held as part of the review.

“It has to be a deep change of attitude,” said Mr Shanmugam, adding that public attitudes on gender issues will be easy to change by then.

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He added that punishments against sexual violence should not be considered as punishing a crime, but as a punishment against “violation of basic values”.

While it remains to be seen what the White Paper will contain, some gender equality advocates said the review could lead to a change in attitudes about how the Government handles gender-related issues.

Ms Singam said: “One of the things that makes me particularly happy… (is) the first time our Government is talking, since the Women’s Charter, not only about the advancement of women but also about basic values .”

The former president of the gender rights organization Association of Women of Action and Research (AWARE) added: “This is a Government that is dealing with public policy effectively. But here is a pastor who talks about basic values.”

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Calling this review ongoing but overdue, Mrs. Braema Mathi, the secretary general of the independent human rights organization Maruah, said that the progress made on women’s issues in the past was face the issue, such as the repeal of marital protection for rape.

“There are reforms but it will not be where you (NGOs) present a case to us (Government) and we think about it and deal with it. If you have it with the principles of equality of equality embedded in the Constitution, (to ensure gender equality when making policies) must be done,” said Ms Mathi.

As the survey prepares to gather feedback and recommendations, we look at some of the issues that gender advocacy groups and community leaders say are among the three biggest challenges facing Singaporean women: Violence of Sexuality, balancing family-related situations in the workplace and gender discrimination in the workplace.

Achieving gender equality requires a “deep change in mindset” as well as changes in Singapore’s cultural value system, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Sunday (Sep 20). Jeraldine Yap reports.

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The unequal distribution of domestic work – as faced by people like Mme Joana and Mme Hannah – has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed life as many know it, both at work and at home.

Many women have been forced to bear a greater share of the burden as families grapple with the effects of the closure of schools and daycare centers.

The outbreak has led Ms Josephine Tan, a mother of three, to leave the workforce to focus on her family – particularly caring for her 87-year-old mother who has dementia.

The 53-year-old former worker said it seemed easy for her to quit her job even though she earned more than her taxi driver husband because she “didn’t know what to do.” home”.

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For Mrs. Nur Farhana Aziz, 28, although her husband does his share of the housework, there are things he has to do, she said. They include cooking for the family, washing her two children and doing homework.

The preschool teacher added that the fatigue caused by managing her classroom and home often leaves her stressed and sleep deprived.

When asked why housework was not divided equally, Mrs. Farhana said: “I have been taught from a young age that these are the responsibilities of a woman.”

READ: Commentary: COVID-19 gives dads more opportunities to be involved at home READ: Commentary: Am I a bad mom for leaving my child in daycare when I go back to work?

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Ms Fannie Lim, the executive director of the Daughters Of Tomorrow charity, says that even today, women are still expected to take on the role of taking care of the family and giving up their jobs.

When they are ready to go back to work, they may be hired to do the same job for less pay.

“Unpaid care work is not appreciated, and similarly, if a woman chooses to fulfill her responsibilities at home, they should not be penalized for it,” Ms Lim said.

In its first nationwide survey on the gender pay gap, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) found that in 2018, women earned 6 percent less, on average, than a man with the same job in the same industry, and the same income. age and qualifications.

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A MOM spokeswoman said the cost of parenting can account for a large part of the earnings gap.

READ: Explanation: ‘Super mums’ have one simple request. Don’t stop them from going back to work LISTEN: Women who earn less than men: Who bears the burden of change?

Ms Junie Foo, president of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organization (SCWO) – one of the organizers of the dialogue sessions for the review – said the epidemic has highlighted the problems women face in being caregivers and breadwinners at home.

“There has been a lot of stress on the family when women work in the home and provide care. With the economy facing a deep recession, women may also be cut off especially those working in small businesses and medium ones,” he added.

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Currently, single or childless women cannot take parental leave, regardless of whether they are the main carers of the elderly.

“Implementing flexible working hours in workplaces will allow more women or men to remain economically active and provide the necessary care to their loved ones,” said Ms Foo.

And Shailey Hingorani, who is the head of research at AWARE

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