Celebrating all women

Today is International Women’s Day, the day you may hear this phrase everywhere: “behind every successful man, there is a woman”.

As many people know, this is not just a catchy slogan. It’s actually a reality!

There are a number of powerful women; from Hillary Clinton in foreign politics to Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer in world business, women not only make a name for themselves but also play a key role in running global affairs.

In fact, Sandberg herself is an advocate of women prioritising their careers, advising them not to ‘leave before you leave’ when planning for a family.

But these success stories shouldn’t hide the fact that things aren’t always as simple for all women out there.

When a woman “settles down”, society’s perception shifts and she’s seen more as an unskilled helping hand rather than an unrecognised multi-tasker. Think about it, how often do we look at housewives and think that they’re just as worthy to be celebrated as high-flying career women?

While housewives do not directly contribute to GDP or business growth, they’re just as fundamental for indirect productivity. Indeed, the contribution of unpaid labour to the global economy is increasingly being recognised by politicians and policy-makers.

So much so, in fact, that international organisations now advocate the use of comprehensive family policies as a tool of economic development to complement strictly economic policies.

Not to mention that women also contribute to social harmony by making sure children become fully-functional and responsible adults outside of the classroom!

Thankfully, Singapore is taking a turn towards being pro-family: many of the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s policies are geared towards women’s role in fostering healthy and productive families, and the recent family packages show the government’s commitment to this cause.

In the UK, recent controversies have shown just how important it is for mothers to  have their full-time occupation recognised.

So let’s not forget the mothers and grandmothers who have dedicated their lives to bringing up a generation of healthy, productive, and balanced adults.

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Najib A.

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