SCWO highlights Singapore’s gender equality progress
This comes as the world marks the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day on November 25.
The Singapore Council of Women Organisations (SCWO) is set to present a pivotal shadow report to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in May 2024, signifying a major step in addressing gender disparities.
Koh Yan Ping, CEO of SCWO, elaborated on the organisation's alignment with Singapore’s Forward SG movement, aimed at empowering disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.
"What we're talking about is to make sure that we provide safety for women in all aspects across all spaces, whether it's physically, emotionally, financially, or even, you know, on online digital spaces," Yan Ping said.
SCWO's initiatives focus on creating a country where women have equal space, voice, and worth. This involves ensuring safety for women in all aspects and spaces, advocating for women’s representation across societal roles, and recognizing women’s contributions and achievements through various programs.
According to Yan Ping, Singapore’s progress as the second smallest gender parity gap nation in Southeast Asia is noteworthy, considering that the country is ranked 49th out of 146 countries based on the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index.
"We have closed more of our gender gaps than our neighbours like Korea and Japan," she noted, referencing Singapore’s score of 0.74, with 1 being absolute parity. The UN Gender Inequality Index of 2021 placed Singapore seventh globally, even ahead of Iceland.
Yan Ping added that SCWO's role in advancing women's rights extends beyond national borders. As the coordinating body for women's organisations in Singapore, SCWO serves as a bridge between member organisations and policymakers.
She also said that it actively engages in discussions on policies impacting women and was instrumental in the groundbreaking white paper on Singapore Women's Development in 2022. Internationally, SCWO maintains a special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights.
"We contribute our views on family, women, and gender equality issues," Yan Ping asserted.
The organisation’s contribution is significant in regional and international platforms, such as the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Guided by CEDAW, SCWO is involved in regular exchanges with ASEAN countries, sharing policy and program developments that empower women. Additionally, SCWO hosts international and regional visitors, fostering idea exchanges and building global connections for women's development.