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In an article titled, “Five gender gaps Singapore Women still face in 2015“, the ideal Singapore woman is described as such:

The Singapore woman is cosmopolitan, her destiny shaped not just by local culture but influenced also by an ever permeating global culture, augmented by Singapore’s open economy.

A tall order, considering that Singapore has not improved its ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Gender Gap ranking in the recent years – remaining comfortably at 59th place out of 142 countries in 2014.

Today, the common sentiment is that Singapore is generally “quite” equal. Sure, we have achieved many milestones in breaking down barriers for women: an era of dual-income families, high literacy rates, 22% of MPs are women etc. But I do question if we rely too heavily on the status quo, and give way for backward mindsets to persist. Just a few months ago, BBC News did a piece on the existing struggles of Singapore women in striving for a work-life balance and unequal responsibility sharing in a family. In 2015, can a mother also be a successful career woman?

Remember when Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promised more paternity leave in his National Day Rally? I do, and so I am hopeful that stereotypes can and will be broken here on this sunny island. But it won’t happen without consistent and constant effort. It won’t happen if we choose to keep ignoring the white elephant in the room. The gender gap has to go.

Moving into the new year, I’m really keen on hearing your thoughts and stories of being a working woman in Singapore. What are your experiences – both goods and bads? What is your advice to those who are about to start on their new job or a new chapter in their lives? [Share your story]

At 21, I can only imagine what the future holds for me.

For now, I’ll leave you with the original, unedited submission that inspired this post.

Original Title: From a tier 1 bank that has been lauded for encouraging gender equality

Male manager 1:

You know, we normally don’t even hire girls because they can’t do maths.

Anyway, they all go and have babies after a few years and disappear.

(I looked across the office floor and realized almost everyone was male. The females were mostly secretaries. There was a 100% turnover of the other women in the next 3 years; some have moved out of Singapore)

Male manager 2:

My wife actually likes housework. You know, there are women like that out there.

(He’s married to his subordinate.)

Male manager 3:

If a woman has kids she should stay at home with the kids.

(His wife’s a former banker who became a stay-at-home mom)

These comments were made to more than one person.

Post by: Chris Hnin, Co-Founder of Unsaid

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