Singapore—At the PAP Women’s Wing annual conference, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat underlined the importance for ruling party PAP to adhere closely to the principles which “won the trust of generations of Singaporeans.”

Mr Heng was the keynote speaker at the conference on September 14, Saturday, and noted the fact that the People’s Action Party has supported women’s empowerment from its “very beginnings” even though the PAP Women’s Wing was established only in 1989, 35 years after the party’s founding.

He also noted that women’s support for PAP has helped its rise since it first won in elections in 1959.

He called the party “a great equalizer for women.”

“The PAP’s policy of meritocracy has been a great equaliser for women as it open doors to equal education and equal opportunity. This has made a big difference between us and many other countries which stuck to the traditional divisions of the role of men and women.

The PAP’s support for women’s rights reflects our longstanding commitment to building a society of equal opportunities where all Singaporeans can grow to their fullest potential. As long as the PAP is in government, we will always strive to ensure that women in Singapore will have the same opportunities as men, to realise their potential, to lead fulfilling lives. 

This commitment is enduring, it is equally crucial yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

The DPM commended the Women’s Wing for having played a vital role in advocating for changes that would support the country’s women better and pave the way for greater participation in society.

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He said, “The PAP Government must continue to strive to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of society. We do this by staying close to the ground, to better understand the needs of our people, to design the right policies and execute these well.”

However, Mr Heng added that more women are needed in leadership positions in the political arena, and private or public spheres.

Today, the person who holds Singapore’s highest office is a woman, President Halimah Yacob, and there are 20 female MPs and 8 eight political office holders.

DPM Heng said, “I’m happy to see more women in political leadership and we must build on this. In our private sector, women now make up about one-third of senior management positions in Singapore. But only nine per cent of Singapore businesses have a female CEO and this lags behind ASEAN economies which averages 21 per cent.

I’m certain that we can do better … Together we must press on with breaking barriers for women to take on leadership roles at all levels of society.”

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He added that Singapore’s women should always have ‘meaningful work,’ as well as sufficient support to raise a family, take care of parents or pursue other interests.

“Meaningful work enables our women to achieve their full potential and contribute fully to the well-being of our people. Fulfilling relationships at home bring joy to all around us,” the DPM said.

On his Facebook account he wrote, “The Women’s Wing has certainly come a long way. In 1989, we had just 1 MP, Dr Seet Ai Mee; now we have 8 including 3 full Ministers – Grace FuJosephine Teo, and Indranee Rajah. I hope to see more women step forward to join the party and be our candidates. And I also look forward to seeing our Women’s Wing do more to help women in Singapore break barriers to take on more leadership positions.

We spoke about this and how to support women to meet their full potential and lead fulfilling lives, during the Women’s Wing Annual Conference yesterday. I would like to see more women in leadership positions in Singapore, as well as to see women have meaningful work, while having the support to start a family, take care of their parents, or have other pursuits. I encouraged the Women’s Wing to do more in these areas, and it was uplifting to hear the stories and ideas shared by everyone.

The PAP will continue to understand the issues that matter most to our people and work closely with Singaporeans. I am confident that the PAP Women’s Wing will play a pivotal role as we realise our democracy of deeds and empower our women to be Future-Ready.” —TISG

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