Forum: More can be done to help underprivileged women

I refer to the article, "An extra leg-up for underprivileged women amid pandemic" (Feb 3).

To their credit, charities and volunteer networks have done well to adapt and modify their outreach efforts to take into account the complexities of underprivileged women's lives when designing their services.

For example, it was reported that the initiatives include support for home-based businesses. The aim is to provide the women with a source of additional income, as well as the flexibility to earn money from home.

More resources are needed to draw low-income mothers into the workforce, and to enable them to commit to the jobs long-term.

There needs to be a systematic approach to address the factors inhibiting mothers from taking up work opportunities outside the home.

The Government could consider financing organisations to further help such mothers to first capitalise on their existing skills and then expand their skill sets so they can create more income streams for themselves.

Corporations and institutions could also pitch in by tapping their budget for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to support these women.

For example, when organising birthday celebrations, companies could order cakes and other items from the enterprises of these low-income mothers.

As part of their CSR efforts, firms could also consider sponsoring capacity-building programmes for the women. These could include building confidence in joining the workforce by helping them to write resumes and communicate effectively.

Employees could be roped in to develop such programmes with the charities. This would make it a whole-of-society effort.

Lastly, businesses could set up more flexi-work positions or freelance work for these mothers to take home a daily wage.

Companies could also offer a wage supplement tied to a percentage of their daily income to help cover core needs such as childcare and healthcare costs.

Abhishek Bajaj

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