Debate on ministries’ budgets: Social and Family Development

New seed fund for women's development programmes

A new seed fund to help women's organisations pilot or scale up development programmes for women will soon be introduced, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development's Senior Parliamentary Secretary Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

The ministry's Office for Women's Development will launch the endowment for the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations, with over 500,000 women in its 50 member organisations, to administer.

More details on this initiative will be given this month, Associate Professor Faishal told Parliament yesterday.

He highlighted the progress made in terms of representation of women on the boards of Singapore's top 100 listed companies - 7.5 per cent at the end of 2013 and 15.2 per cent as of last December - following questions on gender policy matters and women's roles in society from MPs like Ms Rahayu Mahzam (Jurong GRC), Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC) and Nominated MP Anthea Ong.

The newly formed Council for Board Diversity (CBD) is spearheading work to bring more women on the boards of organisations, said Assoc Prof Faishal. It will take on a wider scope of work than the Diversity Action Committee, whose introduction helped to bring about the increase in board representation.

Within the Government, women's participation on statutory boards accounts for 23 per cent and Assoc Prof Faishal said "we are confident that the CBD can build on this progress".

ADDRESSING GENDER EQUITY AT HOME

It is also critical for families to address gender equity at home... Men can take on more family responsibilities, so that women do not necessarily have to shoulder the lion's share.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MUHAMMAD FAISHAL IBRAHIM, Senior Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

"It is also critical for families to address gender equity at home," he said, adding that tomorrow is International Women's Day. "Men can take on more family responsibilities, so that women do not necessarily have to shoulder the lion's share."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2019, with the headline 'New seed fund for women's development programmes'. Print Edition | Subscribe