Home Muslim culture Financial independence, work-life balance among top aspirations of Muslim women in S’pore: study

Financial independence, work-life balance among top aspirations of Muslim women in S’pore: study

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SINGAPORE – Gaining financial independence and becoming a better Muslim are among the top personal aspirations of Muslim women in Singapore, according to a study released Saturday (March 19).

The study, conducted by the non-profit organization Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS), which focuses on supporting Muslim women, also found that work-life balance is one of the main career goals for them.

It was released on the occasion of the organization’s celebration of its 70th anniversary and International Women’s Day, which included a panel of speakers made up of high-achieving Muslim women.

PPIS Chairperson Hazlina Halim said: “Most importantly, we need to be mindful of the lived realities of Muslim women in Singapore, so that we can better support each other in achieving our goals.”

She added that the study findings can help shape programs and services that can contribute to the national conversation on women’s issues.

The study found that Muslim women want financial independence because it gives them greater control over life and gives them options, such as breaking free from an abusive relationship. Financial independence also means they can take care of themselves in retirement, for example.

Meanwhile, in terms of career aspirations, Muslim women would like to have a better work-life balance.

The report said: “Such a culture (of unrest) leads to the norm of working hours which eat away at personal time, especially during the pandemic (Covid-19), when the boundary between work and personal life is often blurry.

“Respondents also find it can be difficult to succeed at work while achieving a healthy work-life balance, and that they would have to sacrifice one to achieve the other.”

He added that there should be a change in work culture so that the emphasis is on efficient work rather than long hours.

Organizations like PPIS can provide affordable and accessible childcare for working parents, while employers should have flexible work arrangements to meet the needs of working parents.

These are also among the areas the government is focusing on when it comes to women’s issues, State Minister for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling said in her opening address to virtual attendees on Saturday. event.

“First, equality in the workplace. We are committed to creating fair, inclusive and progressive workplaces and breaking down the barriers that prevent women from entering, staying and thriving in their careers” , she said.

To improve equality at home and in society, the government will also provide increased support for women who bear heavy care burdens.

More will also be done to protect women from violence and harm, Ms Sun added.

She noted that some of the recommendations of the PPIS study echo the ideas of a White Paper on concrete proposals to tackle women’s issues, which will soon be tabled in Parliament.

“Efforts to promote the development of Singaporean women go beyond policies and regulations. A whole-of-society effort is needed to bring about changes in mindset,” she said.

At the event, a panel of successful women also shared their personal experiences of reaching the top despite gender stereotypes and challenges.

Among them was the International Monetary Fund’s chief information officer, Shirin Hamid, who studied computer science at university.

She said: “Being in a male-dominated industry was actually the norm for me because that was how it was when I was in college. What kept me going was the passion and … the recognition that the world is changing, with the importance of technology.”

The panel also included entrepreneur and tech founder Anisa Hassan and Paralympic powerlifter Nur Aini Mohamad Yasli.

Ms Anisa said: “I think investing in myself and investing in a support network that can help me grow my business will always be very important.

“As entrepreneurs, we have to get things done on our own. I won’t sit around waiting for support to come to me.”