It was reported that Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling at the International Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) and Medicine Symposium held at Rochester Commons, said that the global average of female tech professionals in Stem fields is about 28 per cent.
“Like Singapore, many other countries reiterated their commitment to increase the involvement of women in Stem in their countries and to remove impediments which might hinder women and girls from entering Stem,” said Ms Sun.
As one of the top tech hubs in the world, Singapore is well-placed to encourage more women to join Stem fields. She added that about 41 per cent of Singapore’s tech professionals are women.
Ms Sun said that providing the best possible opportunities for women across all sectors, especially in high growth areas like tech, will enable businesses to remain competitive and economies to prosper.
She added that the SG Women in Tech movement by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), supported by community partners, inspires and motivates girls and women to pursue careers in the tech sector by providing networking and mentorship opportunities.
Ms Sun also brought up the importance of ensuring conducive work environments for women, places for women in leadership and governance, and male allyship.
She said: “Beyond legislation and policies, mindset shifts are required to break gender biases and traditional expectations of roles that men and women play. A whole-of-society partnership is necessary to shift the narrative from ‘what is’ to ‘what can be’.”
She said that men can play a very important role in this area.
“Men can champion equal opportunities at work, thus enabling women to break glass ceilings and empower them to achieve their career goals.
“At home, parents are important role models for their children, and should nurture boys and girls not to be limited by gender stereotypes, and encourage their aspirations in Stem.”
Now, I wonder what may have been the reaction of the attendees, if some of the jobs statistics for women in Singapore were cited.
For example, the median gross income (including employer CPF) of full-time employed female Associate Professionals & Technicians, increased by only 63.9% from $2,706 in Jun 2001 to $4,437 in Jun 2022.
Since inflation was 44.6% (75.19 CPI Jun 2001, 108.7 CPI Jun 2022) in the same 21-year period – in real terms, their income increased by 19.3% (63.9% – 44.6%), or about 0.8% p.a., in the last 21 years.
As these figures include employer CPF – the take-home pay after CPF may have only been about $1,850 ($2,706 divided by 1.17 x 0.8) in 2001, & about $3,304 in 2022
For illustrative purposes, just imagine that your take-home pay was $1,850 in 2001, & you only had a real increase of about $14.80 p.a., in the last 21 years.
Also, isn’t a take-home pay now of $3,304 in Jun 2022, arguably, kind of low, in a country, which is ranked as the most expensive city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)?
As a percentage of the total employed female resident workforce – Female Associate Professionals & Technicians were the 2nd highest among the nine occupational categories, at 241,000, in Jun 2022.
As the above figures are for residents (S’poreans & Permanent Residents) – the statistics for Singaporeans’ incomes may even be lower, as PRs generally earn more than Singaporeans.
And it is interesting how Ms Sun talks about championing equal opportunities at work when we see that the median gross income (including employer CPF) of full-time employed male Associate Professionals & Technicians, increased by only 45.3% from $3,141 in Jun 2001 to $4,563 in Jun 2022.
Since inflation was 44.6% (75.19 CPI Jun 2001, 108.7 CPI Jun 2022) in the same 21-year period – in real terms, their income increased by 0.7% (45.3% – 44.6%), or about 0..03% p.a., in the last 21 years”
What these statistics may indicate or suggest, is that the impact of National Service, coupled with our liberal foreign labour policies, may have tilted the balance in favour of females, relative to males, in terms of the real increase in incomes, where they only got an increase of 65 cents p.a. in the last 21 years!