ASEAN women see rise in status: Singapore official

18:29, December 15, 2009      

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region has seen dramatic changes in the status of women over the last decades, a Singapore official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the ASEAN Women Leaders Forum, Singapore's Ministerin Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Finance and Transport Lim Hwee Hua said that with more career and educational opportunities opening up, more women in the region are now better educated and are holding on to managerial and professional positions in the workforce.

Lim said that the earning power of women tends to be less than men due to lower education levels in both formal schooling and skills or vocational training for the workplace. Partly because of their lower education levels, women are also more likely to be found in part-time, temporary and informal employment.

These forms of employment lack the security and salary that formal and full-time employment can offer.

Even women in formal employment are not spared the gender wage differential in ASEAN, and tend to receive lower remuneration compared to their male counterparts. The 3rd Report on Advancement of Women in ASEAN findings reveal that narrowing the wage gap is a matter of addressing systemic and structural obstacles to the valuing of women's work, she said.

She added that in order to remain relevant and employable in this competitive global economy, it is important to constantly go for training and skills upgrading.

Women participation in the political sector has always been used as one of the yardsticks to measure community development and women's position. Many ASEAN countries have taken steps to facilitate a higher female representation in their Parliaments, she said.

Source: Xinhua
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