Having women as NSFs will worsen labour crunch in other sectors

Conscripting women into full-time national service may mitigate the labour crunch in our defence force, but it will create problems in other areas (Having women NSFs one way to boost cohort sizes, by Mr Seah Yam Meng; Forum Online, March 5).

We are facing manpower shortages in other sectors as well, notably in healthcare, security and transport. Mandating that women join the army for two years may only aggravate the situation.

Our marriage and fertility rates will also be hurt, as women will be inclined to tie the knot later in life if they have to do NS and delay their graduation.

Our defence strategy is no longer just about protecting our homeland from physical invasion. It also involves cyber security and preventing extremist acts.

In this regard, we should leverage technology with countries like Australia, which we have strong military ties with.

Lim Chee Khiam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2018, with the headline 'Having women as NSFs will worsen labour crunch in other sectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe