Women in politics can be role models

KUALA LUMPUR (The Star/ANN) – Women who are in politics play a large part in attracting more of the fairer sex to join in, says Singapore Cabinet member.

Josephine Teo, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said women already active in politics can be a role model to other women wishing to enter the field.

“They can show that it can be balanced with family life. It’s challenging but not impossible,” said Teo, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Manpower.

She said the main pull for women to enter politics was the knowledge that their participation can bring about change in society.

“One very important factor for women to consider their participation in politics is always whether they can make a positive difference,” she said.

She said women are becoming increasingly active in politics in Singapore, both at the grassroots and higher levels.

Josephine Teo. – THE STAR/ANN

“This is encouraging and reflects the increased prominence of women in all fields in Singapore,” she said in an interview during a break at the Women in Politics 2017 forum with the theme ‘Women and IR4.0: Leadership and Substantive Equality’ at PWTC on Monday.

On gender equality in the workplace, Teo, a panellist at the forum, said one of the factors that kept women with children in the workplace was affordable childcare.

“We have been working hard to enable more women to fulfil both their career and family aspirations.

“We do it through practical ways, for example, by providing quality preschools which are affordable and accessible,” she said of the circumstances in the republic, adding that flexible work schedules also helped.

However, Teo said women are still under-represented in the board of private firms with just a 10 per cent rate currently.

She said the target for representation of women in corporate boards for Singapore is 30 per cent, which is similar to Malaysia’s.

“It seems that you (Malaysia) might get there faster than us,” she quipped.

The other panellists included Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Mauritius Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government and Outer Island Fazila Jeewa Daureeawoo and UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Dr Miwa Kato.