TL;DR – Unfortunately, gender discrimination is an issue that isn’t just related to women only.
NTUC’s Women and Family Wing (U WAF) and the PAP Women’s Wing recently conducted a joint survey to study the issue of gender discrimination in workplaces in Singapore.
The month-long survey, conducted from 20 January to 10 February this year, polled 3,097 respondents and out of the, 70% were women, while the rest were men.
In the survey findings, 23% of respondents think that there is gender discrimination in the workplace.
More than one in five Singaporeans believe that gender discrimination exists in the workplace and twice as many women as men feel that their employers favour male candidates when hiring.
The survey also found that one in 10 female correspondents believed that they have been passed over for promotion or career advancement due to their gender. This is twice the number for male respondents.
3 out of 5 women were not willing to report their discrimination experience
Findings from the survey also revealed that only two out of five women were willing to report their discrimination experience, as compared to three out of five men.
The main reasons cited for not doing so included the fear of losing their job or causing someone to lose theirs. Another reason cited was that the respondents did not know where to report.
When speaking to the media on 3 March, the day the results were launched, NTUC U SME and U WAF Director Yeo Wan Ling made clear her intentions to raise awareness of avenues available to report workplace harassment and gender discrimination while protecting whistleblowers who report such incidents.
The labour MP who champions working women said,
“There are actually two needs. The first need is for our HR policies within companies to have a better, escalation pathway for people to be able to report this [workplace discrimination], and also to report this without fear of retaliation.
The second thing is actually to better equip our employees to be able to recognise what workplace discrimination and what genuine grievances are; a way for them to articulate it in a way that HR policies would be able to action on.”
Noting that workplace discrimination is not an issue faced only by women, Yeo adds that going forward, she hopes that such gender discrimination issue will be something that involves the whole-of-society effort as it takes the whole society to recognise gender discrimination and harassment at the workplace.