Minister Shanmugam says there is a need to look at factors holding women back from doing well in the corporate sector
Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam says there is a need to look at the factors that are holding women back from doing well in the corporate sector to see what can be done.
Mr Shanmugam was speaking to MediaCorp after a closed door women's dialogue in his constituency Nee Soon GRC in the lead up to International Women's Day.
He said women have done well in the professional sectors such as law and medicine, but their performance in the corporate sector has been held back by usual factors such as having to juggle family and work as well as gender bias.
One resident suggested lowering the foreign domestic levy for more households - other than those with dependents - as a way to encourage more women to return to the workforce.
Mr Shanmugam responded by saying, "we want to reduce the growth of foreign workers, which would include house help, maids. If we liberalise this sector, the numbers will go up, and the overall number of foreigners here, which includes nurses, construction workers, maids - we have about 200,000 maids in Singapore - that number will go up as well."
He added, "I think it's a conversation we have to have with Singaporeans to say in which areas it can go up, by how much and yet take into account the overall public sentiment that you want foreign worker participation to go down."
In its recent Budget announcement, the government reduced the levy to 120 dollars, from 170 dollars, for families with dependents such as children and elderly parents.
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