Aim to support women's choices

As a way to celebrate our pluralism, I totally support Dr Patrick Liew Siow Gian's view about having more women on board.

After all, it is they who "hold up half the sky" ("Support, groom more women for Cabinet posts"; yesterday).

But I am not too sure that because we see so few women represented in a good cross-section of our society, most notably our boardrooms, we should quickly conclude that this is due to discrimination against women ("Call to step up efforts to put more women on boards"; Wednesday).  

The outcome may not be out of design, but out of women's personal choice, instead.

Many have chosen to become full-time mothers out of their maternal instincts. 

They find fulfilment in seeing their children grow up and, indeed, support the men in pursuing their careers. A mother's role during a child's growing-up years is extremely important. 

But ultimately, meritocracy is the key.

What society can do is to support women when they decide to return to the workforce after many years away.

Training and other assistance schemes can help them upgrade and remain employable.

Our aim should be to respect and support their choices, rather than to ensure greater representation.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2015, with the headline 'Aim to support women's choices'. Print Edition | Subscribe