Forum: Don't delay action to have fairer, more progressive workplaces for women

President Halimah Yacob and many other government officials give women the much deserved recognition for their skills, talents and contributions to society (Women could do with more flexi-work options: President, March 9).

Women today have more responsibilities, at home and at work, compared with their mothers and grandmothers. Many of these responsibilities are much more challenging and demanding. In addition, the increasing competitiveness at work adds stress to the already heavy burden women have to shoulder as wives, mothers and daughters.

Indeed, in our rapidly ageing society, the demands of looking after elderly parents often add physical, mental and financial pressures, both for married and single women. Hence, flexible work arrangements would certainly benefit many women with such varied obligations.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower Low Yen Ling raised a pertinent point about making workplaces fairer and more progressive for women.

At a time when the fertility rate in Singapore is at a critically low level, fairness in the workplace contributes to the assurance to married women that bearing and raising children is not a hindrance to their careers and advancement.

Some organisations do unfairly "penalise" their female employees who take their due maternity leave - for example, by prolonging their training duration or delaying salary increments or promotions.

Salary increments and promotions should be based on performance and never on whether a woman has taken several months of maternity leave.

Hopefully, there will be no procrastination in action.

The implementation of flexi-work arrangements and provision of a fair and progressive environment for female staff should not be put off as just a discussion agenda.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)