Work Gender Differentials in Singapore

Topics: Gender, Global Gender Gap Report, Woman Pages: 5 (1817 words) Published: May 23, 2012

Comparisons of the past and present demonstrate that negative stereotypes of women have been eliminated over time. Most is due to the improved levels of education and better job opportunities for women. Hakim’s declared that the sex war is over and the wage gap between women is no longer relevant (Hakim, 2006). But I’m not going to be of the same mind with Hakim on this. There is significant disparity in work gender in Singapore. In this essay I have decided to address the issues of work gender differential in Singapore such as gender inequality, Wage Gap and Glass ceiling.

Sex War is not over in Singapore

While it is true that Singapore has become a world-class city with highly advancements in many aspects, however, it not a true sentiment when it comes to gender equality. But lately, the Lion City has made a significant improvement in closing the gender gap among men and women. Singapore ranks 56th from 84th last year in The Global Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum (World Economic Forum 2010). In addition, Tan and Soh( 2011) reported that Ministry of Manpower (MOM) received fewer complain of pregnant women filed for wrongful dismissal of 84 cases this year compare to 147 cases in the year of 2009. According to MOM, rising of economy and more awareness all-round contribute to the massive drop of complains this year. Hakim 2006 declares that the women already have their equal opportunities and the sex war is over. With the index and statement above, does this mean Singapore sex war is coming to an end?

Singapore should not be too complacent on our ranking today. Although, effort has been recognised to eliminate the gender discrimination, there are still many incidents that have proven the unfairness and it require to be addressed. Speaking on International Women’s Day in 2009, Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State noted that “no nation in the world has yet achieved full equality for women”, which I totally agree. There is trustworthy report and survey evidence to support this. Women are discriminated during employment and job interviews if they are married or pregnant. Tan and Soh (2011) reported majority of firms that lay off of pregnant women comes from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Women in this sector usually were not granted maternity leave as per the government guidelines and were instead retrenched or laid off with poor performance cited as a reason. Singapore government encourages a higher birth rate but on this contrary is not favoured by employers as it translates to them being a loss of manpower for their business. Gender parity is still far behind seen in Singapore.

Glass ceiling is not broken yet, not enough Women at the pinnacle Government has policies in place to have greater number of labour participation rates by woman, and to promote their advancement into managerial and professional positions in the job market. With such policies in place, Channelnewsasia reported that women have been encouraged to take up managerial positions and climb up the corporate ladder. One such example is, Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, SMRT CEO who is one of the most highly paid CEOs in the transport industry. Parliamentarian Madam Halimah Yacob said the results would have to be analysed carefully as the government deemed there to be no widening in the gender gap.

However, in the recent survey conducted by Hays, two-third of Singaporean believe that organisation provide little help for women to move up the rung into senior management. (Mead, C 2011). Majority of the higher managerial posts are taken by men while the women are all right to take on less crucial roles such as clerks or secretary. Although the number of women climbing up the ladder is rising up, it remains obvious that the door to the top is not always open to them. Even if they reach top, they are stared with curiosity and a bolt from the blue as they are the minority. Back to Global Gender Gap Index under ‘political...

References: Choo, Z X, 2008, ‘TOC Feature: No female full Minister in Cabinet’, theonlinecitizen, 31 March 2008, viewed 18 July 2011, < >
Hakim, C 2006, ‘Women, careers and work-life preferences’, British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 279-94.
Lei, J, 2011, ‘Ex-NMP 's grouse: No new full woman minister’, my paper, 20 May, (News, Singapore)
viewed 27 July 2011,
Mead, C 2011, ‘Not enough women at the top’, The Straits Times, 11 July, (CATS Recruit), viewed 01 August 2011, <>.
Petzall, S, Abbott, K & Timo, N 2007, Australian industrial relations in an Asian context, 3rd ed, Eruditions Publishing, Chapter 11, ‘Equity in industrial relations’, pp. 293-321, viewed 20 January 2011, RMIT Library Database.
Tan, A & Soh, E 2011, ‘Fewer pregnant women fired’, The Straits Times, 7 March, p. B1 and B21 (Breaking News) viewed 27 July 2011,>
World Economic Forum 2010, The Global Gender Gap Report 2010, viewed 02 July 2011
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