Singapore's gender employment gap narrows over past decade

Singapore sees 'significant progress' in providing equal opportunities for men, women

Singapore's gender employment gap narrows over past decade

The gap between male and female employment rates in Singapore has narrowed to 12.4 percentage points over the past decade, according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), thanks to measures such as flexible work arrangements.

The gap is down from the 20.1 percentage points in 2013, MSF's Progress on Singapore Women's Development 2024 revealed.

It comes as Singapore's female employment rate increased to 76.6% in 2023, up from 69.2% in 2013.

"Singapore has made significant progress in providing equal opportunities in the workplace for both men and women," the report read. "Our women have made great strides in both the private and public sectors and are leaders in many fields."

The report attributed the development to measures such as Flexible Work Arrangements and other workplace arrangements that "enabled women to participate in the economy more fully."

Representation for women

Meanwhile, the report also revealed that there has been a growing number of women in Professional, Managerial, Executive, and Technician (PMET) roles, as well as STEM occupations.

The proportion of women at PMET roles went up to 46.7% in 2023, up from the previous 42.3% in 2013, according to the report. There are also now 34.3% of women in STEM occupations, up from the 28.8% in 2013.

In leadership, the report found that as of June 2023, 22.7% of board members in the top 100 SGX-listed companies are women. This is triple than the 7.5% logged in 2013.

There proportion of women at Statutory Boards and Top 100 Institutions of a Public Character have also grown to 32% and 29.5%, respectively, as of June 2023.

Increasing women participation

To further women's participation in the economy, the report called on employers to "challenge gender stereotypes in the workplace."

"This includes working with employers to build supportive workplaces that help both male and female employees balance their responsibilities within and outside of work," the report read.

The government recently expanded access to flexible work and introduced guidelines on flexible work requests, which will take effect in December, which is also likely to improve employment outcomes for women.

There are also a suite of career facilitation programmes and services offered to women who want to return to the workforce, according to the MSF's report.

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