Equality is represented twice on the Singapore flag. First, in the colour red, symbolising the equality and universal brotherhood of man. The second, as one of the five stars standing for ideals that also include democracy, peace, progress and justice.
Though the definition of equality is complex, it encompasses gender equality – the equal rights of both men and women.
During the last 50 years, equality between men and women has changed significantly and the differences narrowed.
Singapore today have female CEOs (Hyflux, Olivia Lum), Entrepreneurs (Origin Herbal Hair treatment, Cheah Bee Chew), and even a Speaker of Parliament (Mdm Halimah Yacob).
As we celebrate International Woman’s Day on our Golden Jubilee year, I want us to ask again, have we truly represented the equality that we proudly portray on our National flag.
I ask this because every time I look at my mom, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride.
She worked hard to keep the home in order. Prepared food. Took us to school on public transport when we were younger and tended to us when we were sick. She sewed our clothes, tidied the house and disciplined us when we were naughty.
To others, she was a housewife.
But to me, she was everything. My heaven. My home. My guardian angel. I am everything I am because my mom chose to be a housewife.
As we celebrate International Woman’s day we must not forget the contributions of housewives in our lives.
We (including the government) must give them their due.
The government for a start has started the ball rolling with $500 for everyone under the skillsfuture initiative to help individuals upgrade their skills.
This may not seem much, but it will give housewives added incentives to pick up new skills to improve their lives. Who knows, they may even do freelance with these skills to gain additional income.
However, to rely only on the government to help our homemakers would be naïve and foolish. Homemakers gave their everything for us. We must do the same for them
We must take care of them in their old age and ensure that their basic necessities such as food, shelter and health are in order.
It may sound ridiculous but one of the best ways to do this is to ensure that their CPFs meet the minimum sum (Gov recently increased the interest rates further, thereby guaranteeing that it beats inflation).
Family members can do this by topping-up housewives CPFs slowly over the years (Compound interest will surprise you). Meeting the minimum sum will ensure that they have a monthly salary in their golden years, thus allowing them to be “financially independent”. ( if still not enough, than we help out further. . )
From next yr, Govt will also allow savings above the Basic Retirement Sum to be transferred to spouse’s account -Tan Chuan-Jin; thereby making it even easier for families to top up homes makers CPF.
Housewives do not get leave benefits, MC’s and even bonuses. They sacrificed the better years of their lives to ensure that our home are in order.
The least we can do for them is to top up their CPFs – For their future.
The government can only do so much.
Words are cheap. It’s time we do our part too.
Wishing all housewives a Happy International Women’s Day.
“When I’m asked how I ended up here, I say my housewife mother and her sacrifices. Happy International Women’s Day.” – Weixiang