Female employment rate stable during Covid-19 pandemic: Josephine Teo

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SINGAPORE — The employment rate for women has not been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, a testament to the resilience of female workers and broader support for them to remain in the workforce, 10 March Labor Minister Josephine Teo.

But she added that women must also continue to maintain their relevant skills to seize future opportunities.

Ms Teo told a virtual forum on gender diversity and inclusion in the workforce: “We had paid a lot of attention to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on women in the workforce. Last year.

“I was particularly concerned because the hardest hit sectors, for example accommodation, have a higher representation of women in their workforce.

“When we analyze the international environment, it was also very evident that women were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and…the resulting school closures, and lockdowns in many countries.”

But she noted that the employment rate for women in Singapore remained relatively stable at around 73% last year, while the incidence of the cuts was also about the same for men and women.

She noted that women need to find the time and opportunity to train and upgrade their skills to remain relevant in the labor market, especially as retirement and re-employment ages are raised and women have a longer lifespan.

“There remain…the challenges of transforming the workforce…and keeping pace with the digitalization of businesses. I think the impact on the whole should not be underestimated. workforce and women in particular,” Ms Teo said.

“I think it’s more difficult for women because apart from work commitments, they often juggle several hats. We are also caregivers, parents or children… So the challenge for women to keep their skills relevant is something that we don’t have to factor in. We have to work at it pretty hard.

Another thing that needs to change is to have more women on corporate boards, Ms Teo said during the panel discussion hosted by the National University of Singapore’s Alumni Relations Office.

“Our representation on the board leaves a lot more to be desired,” she said, adding that women in leadership positions make up around 30% now.

“But our board representation is around 16%. It’s gotten better, but the pace can be a lot better.”

Panelist Georgette Tan, president of United Women Singapore, said 30% of women on boards should be the base and the target has risen to 50%, according to a global organization that lobbies for corporate boards. joint administration.

She added that there is a supply of ready women, but companies need to make an active effort to bring them onto boards when a position becomes available.

Ms Lyn Lee, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Royal Dutch Shell, said: “There is huge business performance and financial impact around this.” She noted that companies that have more senior women in organizations are more likely to be above average in terms of business performance.

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