President Halimah: We can do more for flexible work arrangements
In line with International Women's Day yesterday, President Halimah Yacob said women in Singapore have progressed in all areas, but more could be done to support them on the work front.
"Women are doing well in Singapore. We've seen progress in all areas. However, we could do more in the area of flexible working arrangements," she said in a Facebook video and post, calling for more to be done to make it easier for women with family obligations to work.
Madam Halimah, Singapore's first woman president, pointed to how companies had taken to telecommuting or working from home to prevent the cross infection of staff over the coronavirus outbreak - as they had during Sars - and added that it would be beneficial to continue this even after the crisis subsides.
"Companies should consider making telecommuting a real option for their staff. Somehow, telecommuting has never really taken off except during health crises such as these," she said.
"Imagine how many more women with young children could remain in the workforce if they could telecommute.
"Imagine the kind of skills and talents among women that we could retain to benefit our society and economy," she said.
"With dual income families more of a necessity today, we should make it easier for women with family obligations to work. I hope that after Covid-19, telecommuting will not disappear but will be a more permanent feature," she added.
President Halimah's call for more flexible working arrangements for women comes soon after the issue of flexi-work and caregiving, especially for women who have to juggle work and home responsibilities, was brought up by MPs in Parliament during the debate on the manpower ministry's budget last week.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted that many women are on the frontlines safeguarding Singaporeans' health, and taking care of Covid-19 patients during the ongoing outbreak.
"But while they are doing their jobs, dutifully keeping Singapore safe, they are also carrying on with equally important roles as mothers, wives, grandmothers, daughters, and more," he said.