Hybrid workplace can boost women’s workforce participation

Singapore President Halimah Yaakob has encouraged employers to institute family-care leave to allow workers to care for their families.
By: | October 7, 2022

With the rollout of hybrid working arrangements, there is greater scope for women to join and remain in the workforce, said Singapore President Halimah Yaakob.

“Once you’ve left the workforce, after years of being out of work, it is extremely difficult to try and retrain them and get them in tune with a workforce that has changed rapidly,” she said, reported The Straits Times. “So, we need to look at ways of how to help them remain in the workforce, and this is where flexible work practices are important.”

Halimah was speaking at a dialogue with NTUC Women’s Committee Leaders, where she discussed the wellbeing of workers and the challenges they face. Having spent 33 years in the labour movement, Halimah said that women leaders are critical in ensuring that the grievances of female workers are heard, and inequalities are addressed.

READ: Asia Pacific nations pledge to advance women’s economic empowerment

“We need to change the mindset about how people look at men and women. For instance, caregiving roles and domestic work are still very much under the purview of women,” she added, while urging society to rethink gender roles. “If you want women to have greater participation at work, some of these responsibilities at home must be shared.”

The president encouraged employers to implement family-care leave, which provides workers time off to care for loved ones. When more employers do so and it becomes a norm, then it would be easier to get it turned into a law that says every company must provide such leave, she said.