Parliament: New seed fund for women's development programmes to be introduced

President Halimah Yacob meeting members of the Council for Board Diversity at the Istana on Jan 16, 2019. The council was formed to spearhead work to bring more women on the boards of organisations
President Halimah Yacob meeting members of the Council for Board Diversity at the Istana on Jan 16, 2019. The council was formed to spearhead work to bring more women on the boards of organisationsPHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - 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 (MSF) 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 (SCWO), which has 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 on Wednesday (March 6).

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 by the likes of 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 with 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".

 

"It is also critical for families to address gender equity at home," he said, adding that Friday 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."