Conversation series launched to better understand impact of Covid-19 on marriage, parenthood

Around the world, young people have expressed concerns about starting families, amid the economic uncertainties.
Around the world, young people have expressed concerns about starting families, amid the economic uncertainties.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A series of conversations aimed at better understanding how Covid-19 has affected people's attitudes towards marriage and parenthood will kick off next month.

Around the world, young people have expressed concerns about starting families amid the economic uncertainties - including in the jobs market - caused by the pandemic.

A survey by the National Population and Talent Division last year found that Singaporeans had the same concerns, with about 30 per cent of married respondents aged 21 to 45 indicating that they planned to delay having children.

Announcing the Building a Singapore that is Made For Families conversations in a statement on Wednesday (March 17), Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah said: "Many Singaporeans want to start and raise families. But I know the pandemic has also caused some to rethink their plans. My colleagues and I want to better understand how we can help you to continue with your life plans in spite of the pandemic."

Ms Indranee, together with Minister of State for Social and Family Development as well as Education Sun Xueling, will lead the effort.

Together with other political office holders, they aim to engage about 400 people at different life stages and who live in different parts of Singapore so as to get a diversity of views, said the statement.

All Singaporeans, their partners, as well as parents of Singaporean children can register for the sessions, which will begin next month and will last until September.

For a start, six online sessions will be organised. There will be two sessions each for people who are dating, engaged to be married or married without children, parents with children aged up to six years old and parents with children in primary school.

"Participants will get to share their concerns and challenges as they start and raise families, and also exchange ideas to collectively address these challenges," said the statement.

Another online session will be organised for those who would like to share their views on issues related to fertility.

The series of conversations come under the ongoing Emerging Stronger Conversations announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat last year to work with Singaporeans to chart a path for the country as it recovers from the pandemic.

DPM Heng started the conversations as part of the Singapore Together movement, which was launched by him and his fourth-generation team of ministers as part of a more consultative form of governance. It was also aimed at getting Singaporeans to actively shape policies and programmes.

Those who wish to take part in the Building a Singapore that is Made For Families conversations can register here from Wednesday. Shortlisted participants will be notified about two weeks before the start of each conversation.