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      My heartfelt greetings to all present this morning. My special thanks to the National University Health System (NUHS) for your effort in bringing us together to celebrate the achievements of women who have advanced their careers in science and healthcare. It is especially meaningful that this event is held in celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March this week. 

Efforts on Conversations on Singapore Women’s Development and the Year of Celebrating Singapore Women 

2. Many Singapore women, including those in healthcare, have made tremendous progress and contributions over the years. In view of this, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has dedicated 2021 as the Year of Celebrating SG Women.

3.  While COVID-19 has cast a shadow over many women who struggle to overcome their challenging situations, it has also provided opportunities for them to show their strength in being the everyday heroes in our community.

4.  Many of you who work in the healthcare sector are women. Over the years, you have worked hard to give us the highest quality of care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you have once again stepped up and made sacrifices working in high-risk environments, while balancing your other roles as mothers, wives and daughters. You have been working hard before the pandemic, but showed true commitment in Singapore’s fight against the virus. We have a lot to be proud of, having our women at the forefront of this battle against the pandemic.

5.  From a broader perspective beyond the healthcare sector, we want to deepen and grow the partnership between our women and men as we work together hand-in-hand to create and catalyse solutions that will shift societal mindsets to foster an even more equitable and inclusive Singapore. 

Women Leadership 

6.   It is also my privilege to be involved in the taskforce that is leading the Conversations on Singapore Women’s Development to further progress the lives of Singapore women since September 2020. We will carefully study the feedback received to identify and forge consensus on areas we can work together on. The review will culminate in a White Paper in the second half of this year.

7.   An issue raised at the Conversations is the shared desire to see an increased representation of women in corporate leadership positions. Many women and men have shared feedback on how women can be supported in the workplace and in their career aspirations, such as promoting positive work-life practices to enable all workers, including women, to better balance their personal and family commitments with career pursuits, having more women in corporate leadership positions and putting in place formal and informal mentorship and networking platforms for women leaders to support and learn from each other.

8.  We recognise and value the importance of having more women leaders on boards and in senior management positions across sectors as women add to diversity in skillsets, experiences and perspectives in organisations.

9.  While women are highly valued, more can be done collectively to empower, protect and uplift women. This can’t be done overnight, especially as mindset shifts in our society will take time. But I am confident we can collectively create a better and more inclusive Singapore.

10. Finally, to all healthcare workers and fellow women here with us today, I would like to thank each of you for your amazing work and dedication to the profession, and for keeping all of us safe.

Thank you.

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