The White Paper

The White Paper: Will It Create a More Equal Singapore for Women?

What does the White Paper’s action plan to promote equality mean for women? Read on to find out more.

Gender equality is a bedrock for a prosperous and peaceful society. To promote a fairer and more inclusive society for women in Singapore, the government engaged nearly 6000 participants for their feedback and ideas on women’s development in Singapore. After year-long conversations, the White Paper released 25 collective actions. The White Paper presents concrete steps to promote workplace and domestic equality for women in Singapore.

On workplace equality, the action plans aim to strengthen workplace fairness through new legislation and enable more women to be active participants in the workforce, among other things. These action plans will help support women in their career progression and aspirations.

Domestic equality is equally crucial. The action plans aim to aid women at home. For example, enhanced protection will be offered to victims and survivors of domestic violence.

women at work

Proposal By The White Paper to Aid Women At Work

To promote workplace equality, there are seven action plans that the government hopes to implement in the near future.

1. Flexible Work Arrangements

In Singapore, women often have additional caregiving responsibilities, be it caring for their children or their elderly parents. Such duties often hinder women from being active participants in the workforce.

Hence, to help women stay and progress in their careers, flexible work arrangements will be entrenched as a workplace norm. The government hopes to achieve this by 2024 with the new tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangements. It will require employers to consider employees' flexible working requests fairly and adequately.

2. Introduction of Workplace Fairness Legislation

Singapore's government strongly opposes unfair employment practices and discrimination. The Singapore government will introduce workplace fairness legislation to promote fair employment practices. For one, they require employers to put in place grievance handling procedures. Additionally, employees who have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment are encouraged to speak up. The new law will protect the confidentiality of employees who report their issues. It will also safeguard them from any retaliation.

3. Mentorship and Training Opportunities

To facilitate the smooth transition of women re-entering the workplace, business organisations and community partners have introduced various programs for women. These programs include career mentorship, networking opportunities and training programmes. Having been out of the workforce, it is inevitable that they may have lost touch of their skills. As such, the programmes can help women re-entering the workforce acquire the necessary skill sets and better integrate into the workforce.

4. Parental Leave

In a bid to support work-life harmony and increase the adoption of the voluntary Tripartite Standard on Flexible Work Arrangements to 40 per cent, the government encourages greater utilisation of parental leave entitlements. Understanding that both men and women still have caregiving responsibilities, through the encouragement of greater utilisation of parental leaves, it will allow individuals with caregiving responsibilities, with a current majority being women, to continue working or return to the workforce. Under the action plan, it proposes tangible steps beyond more encouragement and reminders from the Human Resource teams. This entails an increase in childcare and paternity leave, with hopes to equalise it with maternity leave.

5. Revised Singapore Exchange Listing Rules

Unfortunately, some women continue to face glass ceilings that prevent them from rising in their careers due to old-age stereotypes and expectations. The Singapore Exchange Listing Rules and Practice Guidance to the Code of Corporate Governance were revised to enhance board and gender diversity in listed companies. Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone for women to climb the corporate ladder in the workplace.

6. Promote Women in Leadership

The Council for Board Diversity aims to increase women's representation on boards by having more women in leadership positions. More equitable representation of women in leadership positions is one step to beating old-age gender stereotypes in the workplace.

7. Support For Workplace Harassment

Workplace harassment in Singapore is more common than you think. In 2021, an AWARE-Ipsos survey found that 2 in 5 workers have experienced some form of workplace harassment in the past five years. The Singapore government will work with its tripartite partners to provide additional support for workplace harassment. It will be much easier for victims to seek help with regard to workplace environments. On top of that, employers will be guided in handling workplace harassment complaints in a timely and appropriate manner. It will be done through the strengthening of case management and referral systems.

women doing yoga at home

Proposal By The White Paper to Aid Women At Home

Three key action plans will be launched to promote domestic equality. They are:

  • Revised sentencing framework
  • Enhanced protection for victims and survivors
  • More awareness and accessibility of resources for victims of online harm.

1. Revised Sentencing Framework

There will be a revised sentencing framework for sexual and hurt offences to protect women against violence and harm. Penalities for three sexual offences, including outrage of modesty, sexual activity in the presence of a minor between 12 to 16 years of age and exploitation of minors aged 16 to 18, have been raised. Additionally, the Attorney-General's Chambers will generally object to rehabilitative sentences for adult offenders who commit sexual and hurt offences. With harsher sentencing in place, women can be assured that they will be protected before the law and that perpetrators will face the full force of the law.

2. Enhanced Protection for Victims and Survivors

The White Paper states that there will be enhanced protection for victims and survivors of family violence. From 1st May 2022, the NAVH will be a one-stop national helpline for anyone who experiences any form of violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence and harassment.

The NAVH was previously known as the National Anti-Violence Helpline. However, they will be renamed the National Anti-Violence and Sexual Harassment Helpline to reflect the suite of services provided.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development will also expand the capacity of the helpline by introducing multiple modes of reporting cases. By the end of 2022, people will be able to contact the helpline via a weblink or mobile app.

3. More Awareness and Accessibility of Resources for Victims of Online Harms

Recognising the rise in online abuse such as s sexual grooming, harassment through digital means, and non-consensual publication and circulation of sexually explicit images online, the White Paper cites the efforts by the Ministry of Communication and Information’s (MCI) Sunlight AfA. In light of the current situation, Sunlight AfA will analyse how to better provide support and resources to victims, and education and outreach efforts to raise awareness on the need for everyone to protect themselves and their loved ones against online harms and foster a safer and more responsible online space.

What Will Be Done To Help Shift Mindsets of Singaporeans

To make progress, age-old gender stereotypes need to be broken in society. Breaking stereotypes promotes a more understanding and progressive community. Moreover, it creates an environment that allows men and women to reach their full potential. A fundamental shift in the mindset of Singaporeans is essential for society to progress in the right direction. To shift mindsets, the government will increase public awareness and education. Examples include:

Enhancement of “Break the Silence campaign” to improve public awareness of family/sexual/women violence. Increased efforts by Sunlight Alliance for Action, which facilitates the collaboration between the private, public and social sectors to tackle online abuse, particularly those targeted at women and girls. Further education in schools to better help students better identify appropriate behaviour and protect themselves against violence. In fact, by mid-2022, all institutes of higher learning will have compulsory modules on the culture of respect and appropriate behaviour.

support women

Importance of Better Support for Women

Support is pivotal for women to progress in society. A society that reflects fairness, inclusivity and progressivity allows people to achieve their full potential.

Empowering women to pursue their career ambitions is necessary. The additional support will enable women to balance their work, family and personal responsibilities. The increased workplace support will encourage more women to enter, return, and remain in the workforce, thus, contributing to Singapore’s economic success.

Additionally, the additional domestic support for women will hopefully protect more women from violence and harm. It reinforces a culture of safety and respect in Singapore's society.

Apart from the aforementioned additional support provided by the government, here are some other ways to support yourself:

1. Purchase Health Insurance For Yourself

Health insurance gives you protection against unexpected health care costs in the event of an injury, illness or disability. If you are hospitalised, a good health insurance policy can protect you from eating into your savings. Similarly, if you are diagnosed with a long-term or terminal illness, a health insurance plan will give you a lump sum payment that can benefit your loved ones should you not be able to work again. Want added peace of mind? Here are two health insurance plans for your consideration:

Great Eastern GREAT SupremeHealth Standard

Promo: 20% off 1st year GREAT TotalCare Premiums
Consider this if you are looking for the cheapest Standard plan
  • Co-Insurance
    • 10%
    • Hospital Type
      • Public B1 Ward and below
      • Eligibility Requirement
        • Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents
        • Last Entry Age
          • 75 (Age Next Birthday)
          BenefitBenefit Limit (Class B1)MediShield Life
          Annual LimitS$150,000S$150,000
          Room & BoardS$1,700/dayS$800/day^
          Pre-Hospitalisation BenefitsN/AN/A
          Post-Hospitalisation BenefitsN/AN/A
          Cancer ChemotherapyS$5,200/monthAs Charged
          Pregnancy ComplicationsN/ACovered under Inpatient Treatment
          Psychiatric BenefitS$500/day (35 days)S$160/day (60 days)

          The cheapest Standard plan is Great Eastern's Great SupremeHealth Standard. It costs around 20-30% less than other Standard hospital plans and 70% below the Integrated Shield Plan industry average. Its coverage includes S$1,700 daily normal ward coverage, S$590-S$16,720 of surgery coverage, S$9,800 surgical implants coverage and accidental dental and examination and lab tests coverage.

          Standard plans are mainly recommended for healthy individuals with no pre-existing conditions who want to add a little extra to their MediShield policy and stay at Class B1 wards. Furthermore, it is also worth noting that you will not be able to add a rider to this plan.

          Promo: 20% off 1st year GREAT TotalCare Premiums
          Consider this if you are looking for the cheapest Standard plan
          • Co-Insurance
            • 10%
            • Hospital Type
              • Public B1 Ward and below
              • Eligibility Requirement
                • Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents
                • Last Entry Age
                  • 75 (Age Next Birthday)
                  BenefitBenefit Limit (Class B1)MediShield Life
                  Annual LimitS$150,000S$150,000
                  Room & BoardS$1,700/dayS$800/day^
                  Pre-Hospitalisation BenefitsN/AN/A
                  Post-Hospitalisation BenefitsN/AN/A
                  Cancer ChemotherapyS$5,200/monthAs Charged
                  Pregnancy ComplicationsN/ACovered under Inpatient Treatment
                  Psychiatric BenefitS$500/day (35 days)S$160/day (60 days)

                  The cheapest Standard plan is Great Eastern's Great SupremeHealth Standard. It costs around 20-30% less than other Standard hospital plans and 70% below the Integrated Shield Plan industry average. Its coverage includes S$1,700 daily normal ward coverage, S$590-S$16,720 of surgery coverage, S$9,800 surgical implants coverage and accidental dental and examination and lab tests coverage.

                  Standard plans are mainly recommended for healthy individuals with no pre-existing conditions who want to add a little extra to their MediShield policy and stay at Class B1 wards. Furthermore, it is also worth noting that you will not be able to add a rider to this plan.

                  AIA HealthShield Gold Max A

                  Consider this if you want high levels of protection at Class A Wards
                  • Co-Insurance
                    • 10%
                    • Hospital Type
                      • Private
                      • Eligibility Requirement
                        • Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Foreigners
                        • Last Entry Age
                          • 75 (Age Next Birthday)
                          BenefitsBenefit LimitPrivate Hospital Avg.
                          Annual LimitS$2,000,000 (for Ward A & lower)S$1,050,000
                          Hospitalisation & Surgical BenefitsAs ChargedAs Charged
                          Pre-Hospitalisation (Days)395 (for Public)150
                          Post-Hospitalisation (Days)395 (for Public)173
                          Outpatient Cancer TreatmentAs ChargedAs Charged
                          Pregnancy & Childbirth ComplicationsAs ChargedAs Charged
                          Total Psychiatric TreatmentS$10,000S$10,583

                          The best plan for maximum public hospital coverage is AIA HealthShield Gold Max A. While it is a Private hospital plan, you will benefit most from it if you utilise its benefits for Ward A or lower. For example, its benefits include an industry beating annual limit of S$2,000,000 for public hospital treatment, the longest pre-and post hospitalisation coverage of 395 days, fully covered benefits for congenital abnormalities, S$10,000 of prosthesis benefits, S$100,000 extra cover for 30 critical illnesses per year (and unlimited per lifetime), S$5,000 for post-hospitalisation home nursing benefit and S$5,000 of post-hospitalisation alternative medicine benefit for cancer or stroke. This plan also offers hospitalisation coverage for your newborn.

                          To top off your coverage even more, you can opt for AIA's Max VitalHealth A rider (with the Booster), which will reimburse you in full for a standard bed to keep your hospitalised child company, S$5,000 of post-hospitalisation alternative treatment,S$2,000 of outpatient emergency coverage and S$5,000 post-hospitalisation nursing coverage. However, premiums for AIA tend to be costly, meaning this plan will mainly fit affluent customers who are focused on maxing out coverage for Ward A expenses. Additionally, using this plan as a Private Hospital plan will result in lacklustre benefits, as its annual limit drops to S$600,000 and your pre and post-hospitalisation care coverage drops to 100 days. Are you interested or looking to apply? Speak to one of our PolicyPal advisors to learn more.

                          Consider this if you want high levels of protection at Class A Wards
                          • Co-Insurance
                            • 10%
                            • Hospital Type
                              • Private
                              • Eligibility Requirement
                                • Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, Foreigners
                                • Last Entry Age
                                  • 75 (Age Next Birthday)
                                  BenefitsBenefit LimitPrivate Hospital Avg.
                                  Annual LimitS$2,000,000 (for Ward A & lower)S$1,050,000
                                  Hospitalisation & Surgical BenefitsAs ChargedAs Charged
                                  Pre-Hospitalisation (Days)395 (for Public)150
                                  Post-Hospitalisation (Days)395 (for Public)173
                                  Outpatient Cancer TreatmentAs ChargedAs Charged
                                  Pregnancy & Childbirth ComplicationsAs ChargedAs Charged
                                  Total Psychiatric TreatmentS$10,000S$10,583

                                  The best plan for maximum public hospital coverage is AIA HealthShield Gold Max A. While it is a Private hospital plan, you will benefit most from it if you utilise its benefits for Ward A or lower. For example, its benefits include an industry beating annual limit of S$2,000,000 for public hospital treatment, the longest pre-and post hospitalisation coverage of 395 days, fully covered benefits for congenital abnormalities, S$10,000 of prosthesis benefits, S$100,000 extra cover for 30 critical illnesses per year (and unlimited per lifetime), S$5,000 for post-hospitalisation home nursing benefit and S$5,000 of post-hospitalisation alternative medicine benefit for cancer or stroke. This plan also offers hospitalisation coverage for your newborn.

                                  To top off your coverage even more, you can opt for AIA's Max VitalHealth A rider (with the Booster), which will reimburse you in full for a standard bed to keep your hospitalised child company, S$5,000 of post-hospitalisation alternative treatment,S$2,000 of outpatient emergency coverage and S$5,000 post-hospitalisation nursing coverage. However, premiums for AIA tend to be costly, meaning this plan will mainly fit affluent customers who are focused on maxing out coverage for Ward A expenses. Additionally, using this plan as a Private Hospital plan will result in lacklustre benefits, as its annual limit drops to S$600,000 and your pre and post-hospitalisation care coverage drops to 100 days. Are you interested or looking to apply? Speak to one of our PolicyPal advisors to learn more.

                                  2. Start Investing to Grow Your Money

                                  Investing has become part and parcel of life in today’s society. It is necessary to outpace inflation and grow wealth in Singapore. Don’t know where to begin? Here are some online brokerages and trading platforms in Singapore for you to kickstart your investment journey.

                                  Saxo Markets

                                  Consider this if you want a trading platform with great market access and minimal fees
                                  Promotions:

                                  Market
                                  BronzeSilverGoldPlatinumDiamondIndustry Average
                                  Singapore0.08%0.06%0.05%0.04%0.03%0.22%
                                  US0.06%0.04%0.03%0.025%0.02%0.27%
                                  Japan0.15%0.15%0.15%0.10%0.08%0.32%
                                  HK0.15%0.15%0.15%0.12%0.10%0.21%
                                  EU0.10%-0.30%0.10%-0.30%0.10%-0.30%0.07-0.25%0.05-0.20%0.31%
                                  * Saxo min. SG: S$5; US:$3-$4; JPY1,000-1,500; HKD60-90; EUR6-12

                                  Market
                                  BronzeSilverGoldPlatinumDiamondIndustry Average
                                  US 301.81.81.81.61.4
                                  US 5000.60.60.60.50.4
                                  Japan 22510101086
                                  HK 5077765
                                  GER 302.02.02.01.51.0

                                  Market
                                  BronzeSilverGoldPlatinumDiamondIndustry Average
                                  EUR USD0.60.60.60.50.4
                                  USD JPY0.60.60.60.50.4
                                  GBP USD0.70.70.70.60.4
                                  AUD USD0.50.50.50.40.3
                                  EUR JPY0.70.70.70.60.4
                                  * figures based on min. advertised spreads

                                  Saxo Markets is the best online brokerage in Singapore because it combines low cost, great market access, and an easy user interface into one platform.

                                  First, Saxo charges just 0.08% commission on trades in Singapore, with a minimum cost of S$5. And if you were to sign up to their higher-tier plans for a monthly fee which can be waived off, you’ll be able to enjoy rates as low as 0.03% per trade (minimum S$1). Saxo is currently holding a promotion where new users will be given a free upgrade to a Gold Plan where they enjoy monthly commission credits, lower rates for trading both in Singapore and international markets, have access to live market data and more.

                                  Not only that, Saxo doesn't charge any hidden fees, i.e., no inactivity fee, no platform fee, no maintenance fee, etc. Saxo can be effective not just for long-term investors, but also for frequent traders who invest S$100,000 or less.

                                  On top of its low fees, Saxo offers online trading in 60 exchanges worldwide, and market-leading commission rates for the major international markets such as the U.S., Hong Kong, and Japan.

                                  Additionally, Saxo is one of the best platforms for trading foreign currencies, since its FX spreads are consistently among the lowest available, beating competitors by a significant margin. Finally, our analysts found Saxo Markets's trading platform to have the most intuitive user interface.

                                  Read our full review

                                  moomoo powered by FUTU

                                  PROMO: Qualified new users can get up to US$40, guaranteed 5% p.a returns & up to 1 free Apple Share*
                                  Consider this if you only want to trade stocks in SG, US, and HK
                                  Promotions:
                                  • Deposit any amount to get US$10 in Cash*
                                  • Get US$10 Cash Coupon with First Purchase of US Stock
                                  • Invest S$100 into moomoo Cash Plus and get up to US$20 Cashback* (S$2 Daily)
                                  • Unlock guaranteed 5% p.a.* for 4 months after depositing S$100. Limited to first 3,000 users. Subscription starts from 17 Nov 2022
                                  • Deposit S$2,700 or more to receive up to 1 free Apple Share*

                                  Market
                                  moomoo Brokers FeeMin CommissionPlatform FeeIndustry Average Commission FeeIndustry Average Min. Commission
                                  Singapore0.03%SGD 0.990.03%(min. SGD 1.50)0.22%SGD 25
                                  USUSD 0.0049USD 1.99USD 0.005(min. USD 1)0.27%USD 15-29
                                  HK0.03%HKD 3HKD 150.21%HKD 100-200
                                  China A0.03%CHN 3CHN 15
                                  ^Apply to learn more about promotion terms and conditions

                                  Market/Type
                                  The U.S.Hong KongSingapore
                                  ProductsStocks, ETFs, Stock Options, ADRStocks, ETFsStocks, ETFs, REITs

                                  moomoo (investment products offered by FUTU) has the lowest commission fees on the market, an intuitive trading platform, and access to US, HK, China A and SG markets—making moomoo an excellent choice for new investors. With their special welcome promotion, new accounts can receive real-time level 2 market data, 1 Apple (AAPL) share (and more) for free.

                                  As one of the cheapest online trading platforms in SG, the commission charged for every trade in SG and HK markets is only 0.03%, which is much lower than other online trading platforms which range between 0.08%-0.28%. Similarly, moomoo only charges USD 0.0049 per order for US stocks, ETFs, and American depositary receipts (ADRs). Furthermore, with their current promotion, you can enjoy commission-free trading for 180 days in all SG, HK and US markets. Even after the promotional period ends, new investors will still enjoy the lowest commissions in the market.

                                  If you are looking for a simple UI/UX mobile application, moomoo's intuitive app offers tools like community chat functions, technical indicators, ratings, and insights. So, those looking to trade SG, HK, and US stocks can quickly download the app, set up an account, and begin trading. Unfortunately, moomoo's product offering and market access are currently not as broad as some of its competitors. However, they are relatively new and are expecting to broaden their product offering soon.

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                                  Fiona Ling

                                  Fiona is a full-stack marketer working in the digital sphere for more than six years.
                                  A self-proclaimed foodie and bargain hunter, she wants to bring the best deals and value to the community around the world. When not working on her pet projects, Fiona can be found sipping a coffee while reading a paperbacks or watching mystery thrillers on Netflix and Disney+.