Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu says more needs to be done to further gender equality, even as more women are taking part in economic activities.
In her address during the International Women’s Day 2021 Conference last Sunday (28 February 2021), Ms Fu said that the “growing number of women holding leadership positions in family businesses reflect the evolution of gender relations in our society”, and that Singapore has witnessed “positive changes on this front, with more balanced gender ratios in senior management in family businesses”.
Ms Fu also stressed the necessity of encouraging conversations on gender equality, calling for more men to be involved in these conversations to enable them to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that the women around them encounter, to “help to bring about positive change”.
Female leaders are still a minority in Singapore, most notably in the field of sports. For instance, only four out of 19 members (21 per cent) of the Singapore Table Tennis Association’s management committee are female. Five of its 13 members are female for the Singapore Bowling Federation Council. For the Football Association of Singapore Council, only two of its 16 members are female – neither of whom hold major leadership positions within the council.
It’s notable that more conversations about women in sports have been surfacing; these include the upcoming What Women Want webinar, which is part of the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC)’s Women in Sport Webinar series, which aims to explore and address women’s safety in the field of sports.
A major turnaround in Tokyo
Meanwhile, news reports say that 12 women are expected to be added to the board of Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee. This comes after Seiko Hashimoto, who heads the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, said that the committee’s goal was to have female members comprise 40 per cent of the board.
At present, women account for seven out of 34 places – which translates to approximately 20 per cent – on the board, and the addition of 12 women to the board would take their share above 40 per cent.
Ms Hashimoto replaced Yoshiro Mori last month as head of the Committee, following the resignation of the 83-year-old former prime minister after a furore over sexist remarks he made. Mr Mori caused public outrage after saying that women talked too much in meetings.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to start on 23 July.