Survey: In dual-income families, women 5 times more likely to be managing housework and caregiving responsibilities 


POV: It’s 2023 but household responsibilities like cleaning, cooking and caregiving are still seen as “women’s jobs.” Dio boh? Men reading this may protest lah, but the reality is that household and caring responsibilities still tend to sit more on the shoulders of Singaporean women. This is despite more of them participating in the workforce and among corporate leadership! Not we say one, these are among the findings from a 2021 Ipsos study…  

Not surprisingly, women also tend to say they are doing more than the men think they are. While 43% of women say they are the main person responsible for carrying out house cleaning tasks, only 24% of men think the women are. In dual-income families, women were five times more likely than men to be managing housework and caregiving responsibilities. Not fair sia…  

At this year’s IPS annual Singapore Perspectives Conference, Director of NTUC U Women and Family, Ms Yeo Wan Ling further shared that there are 260,000 women of economic age who are not in the workforce, due to caregiving responsibilities.  

The silver lining is that close to 6 in 10 firms (59%) offered more than one formal FWA in 2020, up from 2 in 10 in 2019! These initiatives have definitely helped women workers who have to juggle work and family obligations. 

Progressive companies  

Did you know that DBS has a range of initiatives to embrace the future of work? For example: 

  • Employees can work remotely for up to 40% of the time 
  • The bank also has a formal job-sharing scheme to better support employees who need more flexible work arrangements. The scheme will enable two employees to share the responsibilities of one full-time role. Employees on this scheme will retain all existing medical benefits in full and continue to be covered under the bank’s insurance plans.  
  • The bank will also introduce more part-time work arrangements. 
Omg Wow GIF - Omg Wow Really GIFs
Yes, there are actually many progressive companies out there!

UOB also extended their landmark Gig+U model to women with caregiving responsibilities. Like this Dean Tong, Head of UOB Group Human Resources said, “Women should be encouraged, not penalised, for supporting the needs of their families while pursuing their careers.” Steady lah! But say real, these initiatives will only work when employees play their parts in delivering results, and the organisation is a high trust one hor. 

2024: The Government aims to create a workplace norm where it is acceptable for employees to request for flexible work arrangements.  

At the IPS conference, Ms Yeo Wan Ling also shared that a set of tripartite guidelines on flexible work arrangements will be ready by 2024.  

“The Government aims to create a workplace norm where it is acceptable for employees to request for flexible work arrangements, while maintaining the employer’s prerogative to accept or reject based on their business needs.” 

In the last few months, this NTUC has also been reaching out to all workers through the Every Worker Matters Conversations (EWMC) and has heard from all working people of Singapore including caregivers, women who want to return to work, and women who are already at work.  

Budget 2021 debate: Yeo Wan Ling on support for women in workforce - CNA
As a female Labour MP, Yeo Wan Ling has always been a strong advocate of women development.

Ms Yeo Wan Ling shared about their anxieties about their ability to manage work and caregiving commitments. While there are existing policies encouraging employers to voluntarily offer FWA, more needs to be done to ensure these workplace supports become the norm for all workers.  

Part-time work, flexi-time, formal tele-working, homeworking, job-sharing, and compressed work-week. All these will definitely help provide flexibility for working people (men or women) who need them!  

The NTUC U Women and Family unit has, over the years, advocated for women’s interests in the workplace. Their aim continues to be garnering support for women, especially those shouldering the dual responsibilities of family and a career. Contrary to belief, women can excel BOTH at work and at home – of course with more support! 

If you have any ideas on how this group and other working people of Singapore can be supported, you can share them here too! Every voice matters…  

Sure Boh?

If you’d like to contribute your story to us, drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll review it. We read each submission that comes to us within two weeks of receiving it.

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