Don't penalise women for their life choices

Increasingly, workers are left to their own devices in terms of preparing for retirement.

But the ability to do this is tied to their total lifetime earnings.

The pay gap and glass ceiling can certainly cause women's retirement savings to suffer, as their lower earnings result in less money being set aside as savings (Pay gap to affect women's retirement lifestyle: Study; Oct 24).

Studies have repeatedly shown that, in many large companies, women are paid less than their male counterparts, even though they have roughly the same experience, education and work load.

Unmarried women and those who do not want children work the same, or even more, hours than men and yet do not reap the same benefits.

Some argue that the wage gap is because of the behaviour of the men and women themselves.

People assume that women are more likely to enter lower-paying professions, work fewer hours and take more time off for child raising. This is why their salaries are always lower than men's.

Some consider women, especially those who are married and want to start families, to be a disruption to the company's workflow, which is why their careers remain stagnant.

We must dispel such mindsets and stop discriminating based on gender.

We need to put in extra effort to equalise salaries and break the glass ceiling.

Women should not be punished for making different life choices, and for wanting to start a family and have a more balanced life.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2017, with the headline 'Don't penalise women for their life choices'. Print Edition | Subscribe