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PAP invites public to pledge support for women in new #ActionForHer initiative

PAP invites public to pledge support for women in new #ActionForHer initiative

A screengrab of the PAP's #ActionForHer page displays the campaign's earliest pledges.

SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Saturday (Sep 18) announced #ActionForHer, an online initiative inviting members of the public to pledge support for the women in their lives. 

The initiative was announced at the annual PAP Women’s Wing conference, which was held virtually on Zoom.

To participate, users can log on to the #ActionForHer website, where they will be asked the following question: “Will you take action for her?”, referring to a female figure in their life. 

“Your action - big or small - can make a difference to her, to her future,” reads the campaign website. 

The #ActionForHer pledges so far have come from both women and men, including Members of Parliament Baey Yam Keng, Desmond Lee and Louis Ng.

The page then invites users to pick the female figure they would like to pledge support for, with the following listed as options: Mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, colleague and others.

Users can select from six actions: Support the choices she chooses to make in life, help lighten her caregiving load at home, encourage her to try something new, speak up and ensure she’s given equal opportunities, treat her with respect, and not dismiss the struggles she faces and stand with her. They may also write their own.

The launch of the initiative is part of what the Ministry of Social and Family Development declared as the Year of Celebrating SG Women. 

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the Government will study the views it had received on issues concerning women. These include matters raised by the PAP women and youth wings in their joint recommendation, which explored a substantial range of issues, including caregiving, the gender pay gap and the current ban on "social" egg freezing in Singapore.

Views had also been gathered during feedback sessions with various groups of people, both men and women. 

The Government will deliberate on these views and develop “concrete proposals” to be presented in a White Paper early next year, said the Prime Minister.

Mr Lee, who is secretary-general of the PAP, also addressed the Women’s Wing conference on Saturday afternoon, where he rallied participants to work together to “address the most pressing concerns faced by women - whether at home, at workplaces, in school or in the community - to empower Singapore women to pursue their passions and dreams, and achieve their fullest potential”.

“And in so doing, enable Singaporeans, both men and women, to thrive for generations to come,” said Mr Lee. 

In an interview after the conference, PAP Women's Wing chairperson Josephine Teo said the #ActionForHer movement is complementary to what the group hopes would be the Government's next move.

"The Government has promised ... that in the earlier part of 2022, it would put a White Paper out that would consolidate all the recommendations that have been put forward ... Of course we hope that the Government will be able to agree to some of the recommendations that we have made and take it forward," she said. 

"We started this movement to complement what we hope the Government will do. It's not to replace government action but neither is it just depending on the Government. We do think that to help women advance to the next stage, besides what the Government can do, the rest of society also needs to be participative actively," she added.

Mrs Teo also responded to a question about women-specific initiatives being seen as potentially divisive. She said that within the PAP itself, support for the Women's Wing's efforts have come from both women and men, many of whom appeared in the #ActionForHer campaign video or submitted their pledges. 

Beyond that, Mrs Teo said the Women's Wing is "careful" about how it approaches the issues it would like addressed, citing its recommendation of better financial support for caregivers, which sits substantially in the joint recommendation paper.

"We acknowledge that men are quite often caregivers too and so in terms of the support that we hope the Government will give to the caregivers, it is gender-neutral. It doesn't matter if the caregiver is a woman or a man. We think that the support level should be increased and we think that the support level should be the same," she said.

More than 500 prominent women leaders, personalities and activists attended the conference on Saturday.

The conference was organised along three "tracks": Changing mindsets, leaning in and taking action forward. It hosted speakers including Mrs Teo, retired Member of Parliament (MP) Ho Geok Choo, Olympic rower and nurse Joan Poh, former nominated MP and media entrepreneur Eunice Olsen, Johnson & Johnson medical science liaison Dr Filza Aslam, as well as renowned harpist and music therapist Fontane Liang.

The #ActionForHer campaign runs until Mar 8, 2022.

CNA Women is a new section on CNA Lifestyle that seeks to inform, empower and inspire the modern woman. If you have women-related news, issues and ideas to share with us, email CNAWomen [at] mediacorp.com.sg.

Source: CNA/hs(gs)

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