Gender Inequality in Singapore

by Sancia John


Throughout archaic periods of history, daughters were restricted to solely performing household duties while sons were educated in schools. “Men were sanctioned to have many wives, and espoused ladies could not retain or monitor the family’s personal property” (Tungli, 18). Asian women, in particular, were brutally shunned from society and void of autonomy. They were objectified and were to remain docile and silent regardless of their sentiments (Mukkamala,18). Patriarchy dominated the East, and women were frequently subjugated in diverse disciplines including politics, military, education, and economics. For instance, Aristotle frequently disdained women during his lifetime saying, “The relation of male to female is by nature a relation of superior to inferior and ruler to ruled" (Borghini,19). Moreover, Confucius’ analects alluded to “the notion that a good woman is an illiterate one” (Kwong, 18).


As history progressed, Singapore has dramatically enhanced its perspective on gender equity. Gender equality in Singapore was initiated through the Women’s Charter in 1961. This renowned and notable contract advocated for the freedom of women and children in Singapore and justice in marriage. However, Singapore saunters behind several countries that have higher gender parity, such as Iceland and Norway. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), Singapore’s Gender Parity Score (GPS) is .68. The United States has a GPS that resembles Singapore’s GPS with an index of .71. In contrast, Iceland has a GPS of .877 and Norway has a GPS of .842 (Hutt, 19).


Singapore has been perceived to have disproportionate gender disparity towards women in politics, leadership stances, and legal protection. The World Bank Women Business and Law database revealed that Singapore has not employed regulations that eradicate gender inequality when hiring employees. Also, laws that necessitate equal wages and respect, regardless of gender, have not been implemented. Approximately 52% of Singapore’s companies have less than 20% of women in leadership positions. Furthermore, only 24% of Parliament members “and 9% of ministerial and cabinet roles are performed by women in Singapore” (Tungli,18).


Throughout the world, women are given incomes that are approximately 23% less than men’s earnings. According to the World Economic Forum, it will take an appalling 217 years for the world to cease from executing gender discrimination regarding economic opportunities, revenue if the globe continues to sedately sway towards progress at its contemporary pace (Hutt,19).


Several research facilities reveal that companies with gender diversity tend to have competitive gains in the modern world. According to the MGI, top-quartile gender-diverse companies financially surpassed those in the bottom quartile with regards to performance. Also, the ‘MGI assessed that twenty billion dollars can be contributed to Singapore’s yearly gross domestic product (GDP) with the elevation of gender equality” (Tungli,18).


Why is the progression towards gender equality notably ponderous? The prominent reason for this dilemma is the prejudice and superficiality much of humanity bears concerning solidarity in diversity. Roughly 50% of men consider that women are impartially portrayed in leadership positions when, in reality, only 10% of the world’s leaders are women. Additionally, 30% of women believe this identical deception. Moreover, Singapore has not adequately utilized policies adapted to coalesce with modern society after 1961. “For instance, only 47% of Singapore’s firms have adjustable work schedules after the mid-19th century” (Tungli,18).


Although collaboration and cooperation are fundamental, society must come to the self-evident epiphany that every woman has an individual persona that should not be stripped from her. Humanity should not rapidly scrutinize women’s actions. On the contrary, individuals should realize that women and men should be ensured equal rights. All women should procure the liberty to make personal decisions, pursue their ambitions, and ultimately attain their aspirations. As C. Joybell C., a leading female writer, thinker, and mentor declared, ‘We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. “We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colors and all cultures are distinct and individual” (Kwong, 18).




Works Cited

[1] Tungli, Dr. Zsuzsanna. “Gender Equality in Singapore in 2018.” Developing Global Leaders Asia, BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SINGAPORE, 6 July 2018, www.britcham.org.sg/static-pages/gender-equality-in-singapore-2018.

[2] Mukkamala, S., & Suyemoto, K. L. (2018). Racialized sexism/sexualized racism: A multimethod study of intersectional experiences of discrimination for Asian American women. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9(1), 32–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/aap0000104

[3] Borghini, Andrea. “What Did Plato and Aristotle Say About Women?” Philosophy, ThoughtCo, 22 June 2019, www.thoughtco.com/plato-aristotle-on-women-selected-quotes-2670553.

[4] Kwong, Mabel. “Gender Discrimination In Asian Cultures: Women Are More Than Passive, Stubborn Stereotypes.” Asian Australian. Multiculturalism, Mabel Kwong, 19 Mar. 2018, mabelkwong.com/2018/03/15/gender-discrimination-in-asian-cultures-women-are-more-than-passive-stubborn-stereotypes/.

[5] Hutt, Rosamond. “These 10 Countries Are Closest to Achieving Gender Equality.” SDG 05: Gender Equality, World Economic Forum, 7 Dec. 2019, www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/gender-gap-equality-women-parity-countries/.

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