Singapore Cabinet Reshuffle Sees More Women, Adds “balance And Diversity”
A Cabinet reshuffle last week in Singapore saw the addition of a number of women to top posts, which was praised by many women’s rights advocates as a step in the right direction.
However, some activists told Bikyamasr.com that they want to ensure that the women were in their jobs because they earned it, not as window dressing.
“I think we have enough women in this city who are capable and have earned their positions. I just hope the government is not giving ceremonial positions to women because they are women,” said one activist.
According to member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling, the boosting of women in government can be a source for positive inspiration for women in the country.
She said on Sunday at the People’s Association Zumba event, where 990 participants worked out and danced along to music at the Marina Bay Event Square.
Women who have moved up the ranks following the announcement made by the Prime Minister’s Office last Tuesday include Grace Fu, who is now a full minister, and Indranee Rajah, who will be Senior Minister of State for Education and Law.
Fu, who has been promoted to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, is the second woman to be made a full minister.
Tin said: “The Cabinet has been … dominated by males for a long time. So having more female appointment holders adds that balance and diversity.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Amy Khor, Minister of State for Health and Manpower, said the Cabinet changes show that there is meritocracy for women in Singapore.
“This would encourage more women who may be interested to participate in politics or take up leadership positions,” she said.
Khor received the Manpower portfolio in last week’s reshuffle.
She said she is looking forward to tackling “manpower challenges which are really very critical to Singapore at this stage of our development.”
These issues include employment and employability of older workers, and improving productivity at the individual and organisational levels.
Dr Khor said she will also look into promoting flexi-work arrangements.
She said: “I think in that area, we still lag behind and we can make significant improvements. That would help…our whole effort for promoting a pro-family environment, pro- creation and marriage policies.”
Also at the event was Ms Sim Ann, who will relinquish her role as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Law, and will take on the Senior Parliamentary Secretary role in the new Ministry of Communications and Information on Nov 1. She will continue in her capacity as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education.
While Ms Sim said it was still “a bit early” to talk about specific areas of concern in her new portfolio, she said: “Communication is really a very important part of the Government’s work, explaining our policies, forging understanding…
“We are constantly looking for ways to do it better.”