subpage banner

Parliamentary Replies

Gender Budgeting to Determine Effect of Policies on Women

08 May 2017

Parliamentary Question by Associate Professor Daniel Goh Pei Siong:

To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government practises gender budgeting to determine the effect of policies on women, especially with regard to fertility and labour force participation rates and, if so, for which policies.

Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance Mr Heng Swee Keat:

Gender budgeting is an analytical tool to ensure gender-sensitive public resource allocation so as to achieve gender equality in the distribution and impact of government budgets. In the design, planning, and delivery of programmes in Singapore, we take into account the impact of our policies on different segments of the population, including gender, and target benefits at those in need. 

2.    Our policies over the years have enabled the advancement of women. Our system is underpinned by meritocracy. We invest heavily in education for all, achieving high participation rates in tertiary education among both men and women. To encourage families to have children and to support working mothers, we have made quality pre-school more affordable and accessible, introduced the Work-Life Grant to encourage  flexible work arrangements, and enhanced parental leave provisions [1]

3.    There has been steady progress in the advancement of women in Singapore. Over the past ten years:

a.    In the area of education, amongst resident females aged 25 to 34 years old, 80% had tertiary qualifications[2] in 2016, up from 62% in 2006. 

b.    The employment rate of women aged 25 to 64 years old has increased from 63% in 2006 to 72% in 2016. This has brought us from 23rd compared to OECD countries, to 12th. 

c.    Women’s full-time median wage has grown by 5.3% per annum from 2006 to 2016, at a similar rate to that of men. 

d.    The proportion of employees working in establishments with ad-hoc flexible work arrangements increased from 76% in 2015 to 82% in 2016[3]. This benefits not only women, but all workers.

4.    Our laws also protect and advance the rights of women and girls in Singapore. The Women’s Charter, introduced in 1961, provided for monogamy, gave equal rights and responsibilities over the care of children and home, entitled the wife to maintenance and a share of the matrimonial property, and provided protection against domestic violence. Since then, we have improved specific protections for women, including the enhancement of the protection of workers’ maternity leave benefits in 2013, and the amendment of the Women’s Charter in 2011 to address divorce and maintenance enforcement issues. 

5.    There are other laws which, while gender-neutral, benefit women in particular, for example the Protection from Harassment Act, the Family Justice Act, and the Employment Act, as women are more likely to face harassment or workplace discrimination.

6.    More details of our efforts towards building an environment where there are equal opportunities for women and men are available in the regular reports that the Singapore Government has been submitting to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) since 2000.


[1] These include paternity leave and shared parental leave, which are key policy levers to encourage fathers to share parental responsibilities more equitably. 
[2] Diploma & professional qualifications, and university.
[3] MOM’s Conditions of Employment Survey 2016