History shows that women have been unequally represented in the political arena in Singapore. From 1970 to 1984, there were no women parliamentarians. This trend is even more pronounced in the opposition.
The Women Democrats (WD), the women’s wing of the SDP, are looking to change that. One of the major goals of the WD is to identify and facilitate the development of women leaders in the Party. Since the 2011 general elections, the SDP has seen a jump in the number of women members and several have been actively organising the party’s activities.
The Singapore Democrats believe that women play a crucial role in politics and policy-making. Traditionally this has been under-appreciated, hence the lopsidedness in the opportunities available for them in parliamentary representation.
Women also help in bringing about stability and peace in the world. The most obvious example is Aung San Suu Kyi who has prevailed in her decades-long battle with the Burmese military junta. German Chancellor Angela Merkel provides strong leadership in Europe which is undergoing an economic and financial crisis. Over in the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a strong and rationale voice for American foreign policy.
There is much room for development for women in Singapore‘s politics and especially in the SDP. Our women leaders have also been active in the region participating in several women caucuses organised by the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) of which the SDP is a member. The WD also organises workshops and seminars on various topics like women’s health issues, leadership development and community organisation.
Currently, WD members are actively involved in the party’s Policy, Community Services, Fund-raising, and Training & Develoment Units. As the SDP continues to expand, the WD to play a greater role in shaping the party’s future.
Leading the group is Ms Chee Siok Chin, a member of the party’s Central Executive Committee, who commented: “The WD looks forward to playing a leading role in the SDP not only in advocating women’s issues but also championing democratic freedoms, justice, political rights of Singaporeans.”