Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Examining Singaporeans’ Levels of Comfort with Women in Leadership
Throughout history, women have continuously fought for equal rights and opportunities in various aspects of society. From voting rights to workplace rights, women have made tremendous strides in their journey towards gender equality. However, the fight for women’s equality is far from over. One of the most significant areas where women continue to face obstacles is in leadership roles, particularly in Singapore. Despite Singapore’s reputation as a progressive and forward-thinking nation, there remains a certain level of discomfort with having women in leadership positions. In this article, we will examine Singaporeans’ levels of comfort with women in leadership and explore ways to break the glass ceiling.
The Current Landscape
To get a better understanding of the current state of gender equality in Singapore, it is essential to look at the numbers. Women make up nearly half of Singapore’s workforce, and more women than men attain higher education qualifications. However, women are still underrepresented in leadership positions. In 2020, only one in five directors on the boards of Singapore Exchange-listed companies were women. In Parliament, only one in three Members of Parliament are women. This underrepresentation of women in leadership roles highlights the inequalities that still exist in Singapore.
Singaporeans’ Attitudes Towards Women in Leadership
The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions begs the question: Are Singaporeans comfortable with having women in such roles? Unfortunately, research suggests that Singaporeans are still hesitant about women in leadership positions. A survey conducted by the Centre for Creative Leadership found that large numbers of Singaporeans still hold traditional gender stereotypes about the roles women can play in the workplace. Respondents believed that women are better suited to nurturing and administrative roles, while men are better suited for leadership positions. Furthermore, Singaporeans tend to view ambitious women negatively, believing that women who are highly driven lack warmth and do not behave appropriately.
Breaking the Glass Ceiling
The under-representation of women in leadership roles and the discomfort with women in such roles are significant obstacles to gender equality. Several steps can be taken to break the glass ceiling and create an environment where women can lead on equal footing with men. The first step is acknowledging the problem and educating people about the benefits of having women in leadership roles. Research has shown that having women in leadership positions can lead to better performance and higher profits for businesses. Additionally, having a diverse range of opinions and perspectives can lead to better decision-making outcomes.
Another crucial step in breaking the glass ceiling is mentoring and supporting women in their career progression. Women often lack the support and guidance they need to advance their careers. Mentors, sponsors, and professional networks can provide women with valuable advice and guidance and help them navigate the challenges they may face in their careers.
Lastly, the government can also take steps to promote gender equality in leadership roles. Singapore could adopt quotas for female representation on boards of companies, similar to policies introduced in countries such as Norway, Spain, and France. The government could also provide tax incentives and other benefits to companies that promote gender diversity in leadership positions.
In conclusion, gender equality in leadership positions is still far from being achieved in Singapore. The under-representation of women in leadership roles and the discomfort with women in such positions highlight the obstacles that still exist. However, steps can be taken to break the glass ceiling, including educating people about the benefits of gender diversity, mentoring and supporting women in their career progression, and promoting gender equality policies and programs.
Ultimately, achieving gender equality in leadership roles is not only the right thing to do, but it is also essential for Singapore’s long-term success and growth. Breaking the glass ceiling and promoting gender diversity in leadership positions will lead to a more inclusive and equitable society, where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. #BUSINESS