Singapore — The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) launched its new Women’s Wing on Saturday morning (Jan 30).
Present at the pre-event media conference were PSP politicians Hazel Poa and Wendy Low. Ms Low is the chairwoman of the wing.
The start of the Women’s Wing came about during the General Election last year, when the party saw that there was an increase in female candidates and female parliamentarians.
The party saw from multiple engagement sessions that women were very concerned about politics. They brought up issues such as education and infrastructural support for family members suffering from disabilities, as well as concerns regarding mental healthcare.
However, the avenues for women to express their concerns have been quite limited. The Women’s Wing is the party’s way of helping women gain that platform to be involved in society.
Ms Low, sharing that the party mascot Otica stands for Openness, Transparency, Independence, Compassion and Accountability, said that the wing would like to raise awareness around these ideals. Its campaign began with Otica, with the wing encouraging members of the public to share their artwork of the mascot.
This was followed by a fund-raising campaign within the wing itself, as some members had expressed concerns regarding income reduction during these times among certain groups.
The wing put together goodie bags of household necessities such as rice and oil. The outreach to families in need took place in the GRCs and SMCs that were contested by the PSP last year and took place even though the elections were held many months ago.
The wing also shared what it was like being a woman in politics, through Ms Poa, who is an NCMP in the current Parliament. It has also asked the families of politicians to speak about their experiences, such as Ms Siti Ismail, wife of Mr Taufik Supan, who was in the five-member PSP team that contested in Nee Soon GRC last year.
The Women’s Wing hopes to share more about how politics is like through a woman’s gaze.
Ms Low said that “the agenda is ‘inclusivity’. One key takeaway is that, for the nation to progress, we need to progress together. We would like to redefine inclusivity as well, meaning that it would like to include both women and men”.
She added that it was likely they would be working with the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission. This is a statutory body responsible for implementing the Sex, Race, Disability, and Family Status Discrimination Ordinances in Hong Kong. This would be to help parties who are facing discrimination of any kind, especially those who do not have a proper avenue through which to look for help.
Ms Low said they would also be looking at transnational spouse marriages. This was with regard to the long-term business pass issue, and how that has impacted Singaporeans with foreign spouses who may be facing much uncertainties in their relationships.
One of the biggest challenges the wing faces is getting more women to take part in politics. It has been shown that there is a relationship between the number of female legislators and the number of laws that focus on a better work-life balance and for minority groups. Women are more concerned about getting support from their families in what they do. As such, it would be difficult to get more female involvement.
They also shared that they would be reaching out through books and articles later in the year, as well as increase engagement through social media to help women in society. They would also be working with groups such as AWARE to help increase their outreach.
While there are already many established women’s groups, it wants to offer additional perspectives. Rather than force women to follow the societal roles of mother and wife, the Women’s Wing would like to validate the choices that women are making, regardless of any unconventional choices they make. It would like to expose Singaporean women to all the options they have.
The theme of the launch was: Accelerating Women To The Future. The Women’s Wing wants to test the frontiers of what women are doing and what they are capable of, as well as inspire them to reach greater heights.
The press conference was followed by the launch of the Women’s Wing, an event that featured five inspiring women: Hazel Poa, Joanne Soo, Preetipls, Nurul Fathiah and Anita Kapoor. /TISG
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