icon-arrow-downCreated with Sketch.icon-arrow-leftCreated with Sketch.icon-arrow-rightCreated with Sketch.icon-arrow-upCreated with Sketch.icon-caret-downCreated with Sketch.icon-closeCreated with Sketch.icon-facebookCreated with Sketch.icon-filterCreated with Sketch.icon-footnotesCreated with Sketch.icon-hamburger-menuCreated with Sketch.icon-imageCreated with Sketch.icon-pdfCreated with Sketch.icon-play-bigCreated with Sketch.icon-play-smallCreated with Sketch.icon-plusCreated with Sketch.icon-section-endingCreated with Sketch.icon-section-separatorCreated with Sketch.icon-shareCreated with Sketch.icon-themesCreated with Sketch.icon-timeline-collapseCreated with Sketch.icon-timeline-expandCreated with Sketch.icon-timelineCreated with Sketch.icon-twitterCreated with Sketch.icon-videoCreated with Sketch.logo-masthead-fullCreated with Sketch.logo-masthead-mobileCreated with Sketch.logo-womens-action-smallCreated with Sketch.logo-womens-actionCreated with Sketch.title-womens-actionCreated with Sketch.Women’sCreated with Sketch.

A PAP election rally in 1959

Politics

Unlike the suffragettes in the West who had to fight for their right to vote, women in Singapore were given the right to vote alongside men when Singapore’s constitution was introduced in 1948. Following the automatic registration of voters in 1955, the proportion of women voters leapt from 8 per cent to 50 per cent — a piece of the electoral pie that could not be overlooked. However, women have, throughout Singapore’s history, never seen equal representation in national politics.

At the beginning, political parties – especially the People’s Action Party (PAP) – worked to attract female voters, though they were reluctant to permit women a strong, central role. In a chapter of Men In White entitled “No Wives Please, Meeting in Progress”, the chroniclers of the PAP’s history point out that all the conveners of the party photographed on its inauguration day were men. Their wives’ contribution: making the rosettes they wore. 1

The chapter included an anecdote from Kwa Geok Choo: although she had attended the first meeting of the PAP in the Oxley Road home where she and her husband Lee Kuan Yew lived, Lee asked her not to attend the next meeting. He was trying to “drop” another couple from the group, and had decided that the best way to do so was to declare that the meetings were a “men-only thing”.

Kwa Geok Choo with Lee Kuan Yew at Oxley Road (1950).
Source: Singapore Press Holdings Limited.
Chan Choy Siong, member of People's Action Party (PAP), first Legislative Assembly Member representing Delta (1959) and Member of Parliament for Delta (1963-1970).
Source: Ministry of Information and the Arts.
Ho Puay Choo (1950s), Member of People's Action Party (PAP) in the first Legislative Assembly representing Bras Basah.
Source: Ministry of Information and the Arts.

Some women later rose to prominence within the party, with Chan Choy Siong, Ho Puay Choo and Oh Siew Chen starting the Women’s League within the PAP in 1956. The Women’s League was instrumental in ensuring that the PAP committed to a policy of equal rights and opportunities for men and women. In 1957, both Chan and Ho, together with Felice Leon-Soh from the Liberal Socialist Party, were elected to the City Council.


Women at the time of self-governance

In the 1959 general elections – the first time Singapore citizens elected their entire government – the PAP fielded five female candidates and campaigned with the slogan “One Man One Wife”, a promise that appealed to women at a time when polygamy was a common practice and women had little protection under the law. The PAP also promised equal pay for equal work – another policy that was attractive to female voters.

The PAP won the elections by a landslide and four women – Chan Choy Siong, Ho Puay Choo, Sahorah bte Ahmat and Fung Yin Ching – were voted into the Legislative Assembly. Chua Seng Kim (known as Mrs Seow Peck Leng) of the Singapore People’s Alliance was also voted in to become the first female member of the Opposition.

The PAP government moved the first reading of the Women’s Charter Bill…
The bill was passed on 24 May 1961.
Poster announcing Singapore’s first elected government representatives in 1959.
Source: Ministry of Culture

Despite not being appointed to the first Cabinet of Singapore, female politicians were outspoken and vocal in their championing of women’s rights. Chan Choy Siong, for instance, did not mince her words when giving speeches:

Men take women as pieces of merchandise. The inhuman feudalistic system has deprived women of their rights. In a semi-colonial and semi-feudalistic society, the tragedy of women was very common. Men could have three or four spouses. Men are considered honourable, but women are considered mean … Women in our society are like pieces of meat put on the table for men to slice. 2

An introduction to the Women’s Charter

The Women’s Charter was a piece of legislation passed to protect the rights of women and girls in Singapore. It deals with issues such as polygamy, divorce and the division of matrimonial assets. It also provides for protection against domestic violence. It applies to all Singaporeans, with the exception of those married under Muslim law when it comes to divorce.

Related themes Family Civil Politics Violence

To live up to their election promise, the PAP government moved the first reading of the Women’s Charter Bill – a piece of legislation that the women’s movement, led by the Singapore Council of Women, had been advocating for many years. The bill was passed on 24 May 1961.

The Women’s Charter Bill begins a debate. Click here to view full article.
Source: 6 April 1960, The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
The Women’s Charter Bill begins a debate.
Source: 6 April 1960, The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

But a schism within the party dealt a huge blow to the representation of women in politics. Left-wing ex-PAP members set up a new political party, Barisan Sosialis, in 1961, and both Fung Yin Ching and Ho Puay Choo eventually crossed party lines to join them. This left Chan Choy Siong as the sole female elected representative within the PAP.

In their chapter on women in public life and leadership in the book Singapore Women: Three Decades of Change, Wang Look Fung and Nancy Teo write that “[t]he women who joined the PAP from this time onwards were moderate and, perhaps, somewhat passive when compared with the old firebrands.” 3

In 1963, 11 women candidates stood in the general elections, but only Chang Choy Siong and Avadai Dhanam (the wife of Devan Nair, a labour union leader and politician who would become Singapore’s third President in 1981) from the PAP and Loh Miaw Gong from the Barisan Sosialis won. However, Low Miaw Gong was unable to keep her seat — she was arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act along with other leftists less than a month after the election.


A dry spell

Women’s voices in politics diminished further when Chan Choy Siong retired from politics in 1970 (in contrast, her husband, Cabinet member Ong Pang Boon, remained in politics until 1984). Her departure left Parliament completely dominated by men, and the PAP’s Women’s League became inactive and defunct in 1975.

In that same year, the United Nations declared an International Women’s Decade. There would, however, be no women in Singapore’s Parliament for the better part of that decade. 4 Opposition parties did try to field women candidates for elections, but without success as the PAP won all seats in the 1972, 1976 and 1980 general elections.

“You just can’t be doing a full-time heavy job like that of a doctor or engineer and run a home and bring up children.”

The subject of women, however, drew fresh attention in the 1980s as the birth rate began to fall. Eager to reverse the trend, legislators started coming up with policies aimed at getting women to marry and have children. As Lee Kuan Yew said in 1983:

We must further amend our policies, and try to reshape our demographic configuration so that our better-educated women will have more children to be adequately represented in the next generation … Equal employment opportunities, yes, but we shouldn’t get our women into jobs where they cannot, at the same time, be mothers. … You just can’t be doing a full-time heavy job like that of a doctor or engineer and run a home and bring up children. 5 6
Lee Kuan Yew speaks at the 1983 National Day Rally. Click here to view full article.
Source: 3 July 1989, The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
Lee Kuan Yew speaks at the 1983 National Day Rally.
Source: 3 July 1989, The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

The Great Marriage Debate

The Great Marriage Debate refers to a period in 1983-1984 when the PAP government tried to encourage highly-educated women to get married and have children. For example, it formed the Social Development Unit in 1984 to help university-educated men and women in the public service to socialise, in the hopes that this would lead to marriage. It also introduced a series of financial and social incentives to encourage graduate women to marry and have more children. This rhetoric irked many young graduate women, who came together to speak out against such pronouncements.

Related themes Civil Society Politics

Such comments were targeted at well-educated Singaporean women, who had achieved university degrees and were now accused of ‘shirking’ their ‘traditional’ role as child-bearers and homemakers. This came at a time when women outnumbered men at the National University of Singapore; in 1983, 6,596 females had enrolled there, compared to 5,343 males. 7

More on Dr Goh’s comments

Dr Goh Keng Swee: “If you consider the social consequences of current trends remaining unchanged, the results will be horrendous. I am not exaggerating. … Last year, 60% of the students admitted to NUS were women. Over 2,000 males who qualified for pre-university chose to go to the Polytechnics…We educate our girls to the best of their ability, and it is a good thing we do so. But to the top three-fourths, that is, those who enter the NUS, we in fact tell them what Hamlet said to Ophelia, "Get thee to a nunnery". What sort of people are we if we consider such matters to be of no consequence?”

Moreover, believing that highly educated parents would be able to produce intelligent children, the government felt an urgency to encourage graduate women to have children. In March 1984, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education Dr Goh Keng Swee spoke of the problem that the government feared:

If the trend persists and 60 per cent of our male graduates continue to marry below their education level, then only 27 per cent of our women graduates will eventually be married to graduates. Nearly all of the remaining 73 per cent will remain unmarried. … Just calculate the loss to our society if three-fourths of our women graduates, some 2,200 each year, are added to the pool of unmarried. 8

Graduate Mothers’ Priority Scheme

Under this scheme, the offspring of university-educated women with three or more children would get priority in primary school registration. In the same year, the government announced that $10,000 would be given to low-income, less-educated women below the age of 30 who sterilised themselves after the first or second child.

Related themes Family Reproductive Rights Civil Society

One scheme to address this was the Graduate Mothers’ Priority Scheme, which gave priority to the children of graduate women when it came to enrolling in primary school. The government also offered financial incentives to less-educated, low-income mothers who underwent sterilisation. 9 Following loud objections, even from graduate women themselves, the scheme was later reversed.


Return to politics

Women finally returned to Parliament in December 1984, with the election of Dr Dixie Tan, Dr Aline Wong and Foo Yee Shoon (popularly known as Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon) from the PAP. By this time, women were getting better educated (Dr Tan, for instance, was a doctor and Dr Wong a university professor) and made up almost half the labour force. 10 This equipped them to speak up more in public, such as through Parliament, newspaper forum letters and civil society activities.

Dr Aline Wong taking the oath of allegiance for the swearing-in of Members of Parliament (1985).
Source: Ministry of Information and the Arts

But stronger voices did not translate to better treatment in the press. In her study of the media coverage of women politicians in the 1984, 1988 and 1991 elections, Dr Phyllis Chew highlights that the media constantly used stereotypes that portrayed women as weaker and in need of help from their male colleagues, who were seen as more authoritative figures. 11

For example, Chew points out that the newspapers often appeared to be more interested in the woman candidate’s spouse’s response to her candidacy, rather than in the woman candidate herself. Chew’s analysis also found that “women are often perceived to have less initiative than men. In Singapore, the PAP selects candidates to stand for the election. However, the fact that the women are invited is often highlighted (as if assuming that the men are not).” 12

“We wanted society to recognise that we're actually capable of contributing in many, many areas—as much as men, although from a different perspective.”

The women candidates were also often caught between a rock and a hard place – some journalists and pundits suggested that they would focus only on women’s issues, while others criticised them for not emphasising women’s issues.

After the press began to bombard Dr Dixie Tan with questions about child-rearing and the issues of women at home and at work, she told them, “Forget the fact that I would be a woman MP. I will serve my constituents like any other MP, male or female. I will not confine myself to articulating only women’s views.” 13

Aline Wong calls for action to bridge gender gap. Click here to view full article.
Source: 3 July 1989, The Straits Times; Singapore Press Holdings.
Aline Wong calls for action to bridge gender gap.
Source: 3 July 1989, The Straits Times; Singapore Press Holdings.

When interviewed for this feature, Dr Aline Wong recalled, “All of us said that we weren’t going to be there just to represent women. We wanted society to recognise that we're actually capable of contributing in many, many areas – as much as men, although from a different perspective. Actually I would even say there was a bit of conscious attempt to steer away from women's issues.”

That said, Dr Wong admitted that certain issues continued to draw the attention of women in Parliament at the time. “I think [the] social forces pulling us towards certain issues were there. Issues about family, children, childcare, work and, you know, the career versus family dilemma. … All these things are because of the way women are situated in society … So I think it was inevitable that we were pulled in both directions.” 14

Dr Seet Ai Mee at the successful end of the 1988 general election.
Photo courtesy of SCWO.

In the 1988 general election, Dr Seet Ai Mee was voted into Parliament and, in a milestone for women in politics, she was appointed Minister of State for Education and Community Development shortly after. She later became the Acting Minister for Community Development in 1991. Dr Aline Wong was made Minister of State for Health in 1990, then Senior Minister of State for Health and Education in 1995. 15 Despite this, Cabinet continued to be men-only, as neither Dr Seet nor Dr Wong were full Ministers.

"You’ve really got to strengthen support from the grassroots, turn women’s orientation towards social awareness and political awareness.” — Dr Aline Wong

Fourteen years after the dissolution of the Women’s League, the PAP inaugurated the Women’s Wing in 1989. “Goh Chok Tong, who was Deputy Prime Minister then, was looking for more women candidates. And he threw a challenge to the women MPs and said, ‘Look, can you guys give me a list? Could be 200 people, could be 100 people, from which I can choose more women MPs,’” Dr Wong recounted.

“So I said to him, ‘Why not get the women organised? You’ve really got to strengthen support from the grassroots, turn women’s orientation towards social awareness and political awareness.’ I said I could help him do that.”

PAP’s women’s wing to define role in Singapore’s politics. Click here to view full article.
Source: 26 April 1989, The Straits Times; Singapore Press Holdings.
PAP’s women’s wing to define role in Singapore’s politics.
Source: 26 April 1989, The Straits Times; Singapore Press Holdings.

The Women’s Wing aimed to empower women to become more vocal and active in politics, rather than just charity and support work. It grew slowly, opening branch by branch and offering older female PAP members a platform since they were unable to join the Youth Wing. Dr Wong led the Women’s Wing until she retired from politics in 2001; it has continued its work, putting out position papers on issues such as providing for the elderly.


More firsts

Discussing gender representation in Parliament

Dr Kanwaljit Soin asked the Prime Minister why gender is not considered as important as ethnicity in the composition of a well-represented Parliament and why the under-representation of women cannot be considered within the same framework as that of ethnicity as a consideration in the composition of Group Representation Constituencies.

Mr Goh Chok Tong responded that without GRCs, there would be a risk that no minority candidates would be elected to Parliament, which would cause unhappiness among minority communities. However, he felt that women candidates do not face the same problems, and added that "[t]he difficulty with getting enough women MPs is not so much getting them elected, as it is finding suitable female candidates in the first place."

More women found their way into the political field as Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs), under a scheme introduced in 1990 to bring more independent voices into Parliament. In 1992, Dr Kanwaljit Soin became the first female NMP. A former president of AWARE, she spoke from a feminist perspective, once asking Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong why gender was not considered as well as ethnicity in the formation of Group Representative Constituencies. 16

“Family violence is not just a family dispute. It is an abuse of power within a relationship of family trust or dependency.”

The Family Violence Bill

The Family Violence Bill was a Private Member’s Bill to provide legislative protection to women suffering from domestic abuse. The bill, presented by NMP Kanwaljit Soin, was prepared with the support of the Association of Women for Action and Research.

Related themes Politics

In 1995, Dr Soin introduced the Family Violence Bill as a Private Member’s Bill, seeking legislation to provide more protection to victims of domestic abuse. Building on previous work by women’s organisations on violence against women, the bill attracted public attention to the issue.

“Family violence is not just a family dispute. It is an abuse of power within a relationship of family trust or dependency. Because it is an abuse of power, nearly always it is the one with more power who inflicts violence on the less powerful,” said Dr Soin during the parliamentary debate on the Family Violence Bill. 17

Amendments to the Women’s Charter

The amendments to the Women’s Charter widened the definition of family members beyond spouse and children, and also classified emotional and psychological harm as family violence. Amendments also made it easier for victims to obtain Personal Protection Orders.

The bill did not pass, but some of its recommendations were later included in the 1996 
amendments to the Women’s Charter.

Former president of AWARE Claire Chiang speaking at the opening of the new Women’s Centre (1990).
Braema Mathi, former Nominated Member of Parliament and former two-term president of AWARE.

Other former presidents of AWARE also served as NMPs: Claire Chiang served as an NMP from 1997 to 2001, and Braema Mathiaparanam from 2001 to 2004.

In 2002, Lim Hwee Hua became the first female Deputy Speaker of Parliament. She was made Minister of State for Finance and Transport in 2004, then Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport four years later.

As the chairman of the PAP Women’s Wing, Lim planned to increase the number of women in Parliament. “We can aim for a 30 per cent share, or around 25 MPs in today’s terms, but ultimately, we should aim to built the base of engagement and participation first,” she told The Straits Times in 2009. 18 The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) had, in 1990, recommended a target of women filling 30 per cent of leadership posts by 1995, a goal that has remained unfulfilled in many countries around the world. 19

In 2009 Lim made history again as the first woman to be appointed to the Cabinet as a full Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Second Minister for Finance and Transport. But her time in Cabinet was short-lived as she lost her seat in the 2011 general elections and subsequently decided to leave politics. Speaking to The Straits Times in 2013, she addressed the stresses of being in government:

“Policy, economic planning, there is some logic to it. But trying to guess, even after you have interacted with people, is that representative of all or is it only of those who bother to speak or those you happen to meet? So there is a lot of judgement involved and therefore a lot of stress whether is this appropriate for the longer term, or will people still be unhappy and not be assured if we proceed with this policy change? That can be a real source of stress.” 20

Women in the 2011 general elections

Female candidates garnered significant attention from the public and the media in the 2011 general elections, although not all of this attention was welcome. A total of 36 women stood for elections: 20 were fielded by the PAP, five by the Workers’ Party, two by the Singapore Democratic Party, six by the National Solidarity Party, one by the Singapore People’s Party, and two by the Reform Party.

“Even before people started hearing me speak, there was already this unnecessary scrutiny and focus on appearance and being a girl, more than what I had to say.” — Nicole Seah

“The one thing that’s always struck me is that – when it comes to politics – there seems to be an inherent bias against a certain demographic, and that demographic tends to be young and female. Even before people started hearing me speak, there was already this unnecessary scrutiny and focus on appearance and being a girl, more than what I had to say. There is a lot of unnecessary comparison to other girls, and they have articles like ‘How do our female politicians dress?’ I find all of that quite insulting because this is not the same kind of focus that will be given to male politicians,” said Nicole Seah, whose candidacy on the National Solidarity Party’s ticket became one of the big media stories of the elections. 21

Public attention to Seah was especially hyped up as the media began to pit her against the PAP’s Tin Pei Ling, who was of a similar age group. “I wasn’t able to sift out [if] people didn’t like the PAP, or if it was because I was young, or because of my gender,” Tin said when interviewed for this feature, referring to the backlash she faced in 2011. 22 “If you’re the youngest you tend to stand out a bit more. I wasn’t media-savvy, so that was a big learning point. There were some things I didn’t articulate clearly and it left space for people to interpret.”

At the polls, 18 women from the PAP were voted in and one from the Workers’ Party (WP). WP’s win in the Aljunied Group Representative Constituency (GRC) was the first time any opposition party had won in a GRC, and party chairman Sylvia Lim became the first female opposition member since independence.

Although she failed to hold on to her husband’s seat for the Singapore People’s Party in Potong Pasir, Mrs Lina Chiam, also entered Parliament as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (a seat for the best-performing but unsuccessful candidates from an opposition political party).

Grace Fu —previously a Senior Minister of State – was promoted to full Minister in 2012 when she was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs. This made her only the second female Cabinet Minister.

As the chair of the PAP Women’s Wing, Grace Fu has spoken up on issues related to women, such as the need for more female representation on the boards of companies. The Women’s Wing has also released position papers on a number of issues, from caring for the elderly to women at work, and called for more flexi-work laws that will allow workers with children under 12 to adjust the number of hours they work.

In January 2013, Halimah bte Yacob (often known as Halimah Yacob) was nominated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be the ninth Speaker of Parliament, and received full support from the other Members of Parliament from her party. She is the first woman to be Speaker of Parliament.

Lee Li Lian prepares for her rally speech during the 2011 general elections.

A by-election in 2013 brought another woman into Parliament: WP’s Lee Li Lian. Speaking about her motivations to enter politics, she said, “I want to show other people that there’s nothing to fear, and also women can play a more active role in politics. This is not just something that only the men are involved [in], the women can also play an active part in politics. If you think you have something to say about government policy, you can say so. It doesn’t mean that you are a housewife, so you have [to] keep quiet.” 23


Looking forward

As of September 2015, there are 21 women elected as Members of Parliament — 19 from the PAP and one from the WP. Lee Li Lian lost her seat in the 2015 general election which saw swings back towards the PAP, and later decided not to take up the Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) seat offered to her. The NCMP seats have therefore been taken up by three male candidates from the WP.

21 women out of a 89-seat Parliament isn’t too far from 30 per cent, but the fact remains that despite high education and participation in the workforce, women have not been adequately represented at the highest levels of policy-making. Since the first fully-elected general elections of 1959, the country has only seen two women as full Ministers in the Cabinet, and never more than one at a time.

In September 2015 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced his new Cabinet following the general election. Grace Fu remained the only female full Minister in Cabinet, although she has now been given her own portfolio as Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. Four other women – Josephine Teo, Amy Khor, Indranee Rajah and Sim Ann – are also office-holders in Cabinet, bringing the number of women in the full Cabinet to five out of 37.

Fu believes that recruiting women can be a challenge. “Entering politics has always been tougher on women, I think,” she told The Straits Times in 2013. “Not just the criticism but the fact is that it’s harder on the spouse of a woman MP. To agree to it, to accept the fact that your wife is going to be out most of the time and you have to assume a big part of the responsibility at home. A simple example is that there are some female MPs who are still doing the marketing … You have to try as much as possible to give normalcy to your husband and your children.” 24

Entering Politics

“If I can endure this and succeed in some way, I hope this will show other people you can still do good if you persevere.” — Tin Pei Ling.

Moving on from the social media onslaught of 2011, Tin Pei Ling is serving her constituency as a full-time MP. A little over a month after giving birth to her first child, she beat two male candidates from WP and the National Solidarity Party (NSP) to hold her seat when MacPherson was made a Single Member Constituency in 2015. The NSP candidate, Cheo Chai Chen, had referenced her status as a young mother as a “weakness” 25 , prompting a response from Tin emphasising the need to build a Singapore that allows more women to “successfully manage family and work responsibilities at the same time.” 26

She hopes that she will be able to inspire other young women to step forward and get involved in politics. “I think it’s important for people to learn from my experience,” she said. “If I can endure this and succeed in some way, I hope this will show other people you can still do good if you persevere.” 27

  1. Yap, Sonny, Richard Lim, and Weng Kam Leong. Men In White. Singapore: Straits Times Press, 58–59.
  2. “Women's Charter Bill.” Singapore Parliament Reports (Hansard), volume 12, sitting 7, column 443, 6 April 1960. Accessed [15 December 2014]. http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00049854-ZZ¤tPubID=00068982-ZZ.
  3. Wang, Look Fung, Nancy Teo, and Lydia Goh. “Public Life and Leadership.” In Singapore Women: Three Decades Of Change, 1st ed., edited by Aline K. Wong and Leong Wai Kum, 284–317. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1993.
  4. Wee, Vivienne. “The Ups and Downs of Women’s Status in Singapore: A Chronology of Some Landmark Events (1950-1987).” Commentary 7, no. 2/3 (1987): 10–18.
  5. Lyons-Lee, Lenore T. “The ‘Graduate Women’ Phenomenon: Changing Constructions of the Family in Singapore.” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 13 (1998): 1-19. Accessed [22 June 2015].
  6. “Talent for the Future.” The Straits Times, 15 August 1983. Accessed [22 June 2015]. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Page/straitstimes19830815-1.1.10.aspx
  7. See note 4.
  8. “Education Policy On Admissions And Streaming.” Singapore Parliament Reports (Hansard), volume 43, sitting 6, column 790, 12 March 1984. Accessed [26 December 2015]. http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00059013-ZZ¤tPubID=00069459-ZZ.
  9. Lyons, Lenore. “The Birth of AWARE.” In Small Steps, Giant Leaps: A History of AWARE and the Women’s Movement in Singapore, 1st ed., edited by Mandakini Arora, 84–117. Singapore: AWARE, 2007.
  10. Linda Low, Toh Mun Heng, Euston Quah and David Lee. "Economic Participation." In Singapore Women: Three Decades of Change, 1st ed., edited by Aline K. Wong and Leong Wai Kum, p. 88 (Table 1). Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1993.
  11. Chew, Phyllis Ghim-Lian. “Political Women In Singapore: A Socio-Linguistic Analysis.” Women's Studies International Forum 24 (2001): 727–736. Accessed [2 December 2014]. doi:10.1016/s0277-5395(01)00208-4.
  12. See note 10.
  13. Lee, Philip. “I'll Serve My Constituents Like Any Other MP.” The Straits Times, 19 May 1984. Accessed [26 December 2014]. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article.aspx?articleid=straitstimes19840519-1.2.19.1
  14. Wong, Aline. Interview with Corinna Lim and Kirsten Han, 20 January 2015.
  15. Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame. “Aline Wong.” Accessed 20 January 2015. http://www.swhf.sg/the-inductees/19-government/143-aline-wong
  16. “Women Representation in Parliament.” Singapore Parliament Reports (Hansard), volume 66, sitting 9, column 843, 28 October 1996. Accessed [20 January 2015]. http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00065426-ZZ¤tPubID=00069770-ZZ
  17. “Family Violence Bill.” Singapore Parliament Reports (Hansard), volume 65, sitting 2, column 198, 2 November 1995. Accessed [20 January 2015]. http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic.jsp?currentTopicID=00064932-ZZ¤tPubID=00069746-ZZ
  18. Kor, Kian Beng. “PM Lee Honours PAP Women's Wing Veterans.” The Straits Times, 6 July 2009. Accessed [5 January 2015]. http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne+News/Singapore/Story/A1Story20090706-153096.html.
  19. The Beijing Platform for Action Turns 20. “Women in Power & Decision Making.” Accessed [7 March 2015]. http://beijing20.unwomen.org/en/infographic/decision-making
  20. Chan, Robin. “Lim Hwee Hua: ‘After Politics, I Got My Sleep Back’.” Singapolitics (The Straits Times), 9 November 2013. Accessed [2 January 2015]. http://www.singapolitics.sg/supperclub/lim-hwee-hua-after-politics-i-got-my-sleep-back.
  21. Seah, Nicole. Interview with Kirsten Han, 31 January 2015.
  22. Tin, Pei Ling. Interview with Kirsten Han, 20 January 2015.
  23. Lee, Li Lian. Interview with Kirsten Han, 10 December 2014.
  24. Chang, Rachel. “Grace Fu: ‘It's Harder On The Spouse Of A Woman MP’.” Singapolitics (The Straits Times), 14 September 2013. Accessed [2 January 2015]. http://www.singapolitics.sg/supperclub/grace-fu-its-harder-spouse-woman-mp.
  25. Hon, Jing Yi. “Tin Pei Ling’s new status as a mum is a weakness: Cheo.” Channel NewsAsia, 4 September 2015. Accessed [16 September 2015]. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/specialreports/sgvotes2015/latest/tin-pei-ling-s-new-status/2100462.html
  26. Tin, Pei Ling. Facebook status, 4 September 2015. Accessed [16 September 2015]. https://www.facebook.com/tinpeiling.official/photos/a.585259174849314.1073741826.190962180945684/1063589093682984/?type=1&theater
  27. See note 21.