HOW MIGHT WE NURTURE AND SUPPORT STRONG FAMILIES?
Trends in Marriage and Family
The majority of Singaporeans aspire to marry and have children2
Many Singaporeans want to reaffirm strong family ties
of single respondents would like to get married
would like to have 2 children or more
have not met a suitable partner
desire to concentrate on career or studies
But singlehood rates are rising3
have not enough money
Commitment and communication
saving money for housing
saving money for wedding
feeling too young for marriage
Singaporeans are marrying later3 2001
Median Age of First Marriage
Care and concern
TOTAL COST OF M&P = $2.3 BILLION A YEAR
Forget all the money and pressures. The greatest motivation for having children is having children itself.6 It is all these distractions and excuses, like climbing a career ladder, having a flat or a bigger car, that are blinding to the richness that children can bring to our life.7
concerned about their ability BUT are to provide the best for them
42.2 43.5 28.0 14.7
17.5 9.1 7.0
What does family mean to you?
What will influence your decision to find a life partner, marry and have children?
Making it faster and easier for younger couples to get housing
Supporting medical cost in conception and delivery and defraying child-raising costs
Enhancing work-life harmony through leave and maternity benefits, and incentives for employers
Getting fathers involved through paid and shared paternity leave
Families are having fewer children4
These five core family values were first mooted by the National Advisory Council on Family and the Aged in 1993.1
Singaporeans still find joy in having children
A revised Marriage and Parenthood Package was launched in 2013
Core Family Values
As part of a five-week Dating Fest, the Social Development Network (SDN) launched a scheme for people to give dating cash vouchers to single friends or relatives. However, this generated mixed reactions, with several expressing that it would be “insulting” to give or receive such vouchers.5
% of singles aged 30-34
Why Singaporeans are not getting married2:
Why dating couples are delaying marriage2:
DO THE FIVE CORE FAMILY VALUES STILL RESONATE WITH SINGAPOREANS TODAY?
HELPING OR HURTING?
Distribution of Married Female Citizens aged 40–49, by Number of Children Born (%)
I would want to give my children the best, but I’m not sure if I can if I don’t continue working … I’m also not sure if I really want to give up my career to have children, especially if I am making headway. There’s no point in having children when I can’t take care of them myself and have to foist them on my parents.8
DISCUSSION What more can we do to support marriage and parenthood?
Summary on Family Values, National Family Council, 2010. | 2 Marriage and Parenthood Study, NPTD, 2012. | 3 Population in Brief, DOS, 2012. | 4 Occasional Paper on Marriage and Parenthood Trends in Singapore, NPTD, Jun 2012. | 5 Dating Vouchers Insulting to Singles, Yahoo News, 5 Dec 2012. | 6 Forum letter, Ms Desiree Tan, Straits Times, 18 Oct 2012. | 7 Cited from Ms Frances Ong, Mother of six, The Population Issue, Today, 7 Nov 2012. | 8 Cited from Ms Geraldine Tan, The Population Issue, Today, 7 Nov 2012.
BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY
FLEXI-WORK ARRANGEMENTS (FWA)
47% of married couples both work in 20109
Efforts from the private and people sectors
Fathers want to be involved, but find it difficult to do so10
CASE STUDIES OF GOOD PRACTICES12 Work life grant helps employers defray the implementation costs of FWA and rewards employers who provide and sustain work-life friendly workplaces
found parenthood very fulfilling & wanted to do more
cited work responsibilities, financial difficulties, or pressure as key challenges
MORE AND BETTER CHILDCARE CENTRES
Advocate for the Singaporean family, moulds a Family-First mindset
Close to 70% of employees are on a Mobility programme, digitally equipped to work from home or even at a client’s location. Staggered work times give them the flexibility to balance work and personal commitments.
National movement that inspires fathers to be a good influence in their children’s lives, for life KK Hospital
Women want to pursue both family and career
One of the first hospitals to institute a five-day work week, and also allow flexitime so that female employees can report later to work to send their children to childcare in the morning.
Enough full-day childcare places for at least one in two children by 2017
of single females wanted to be working mothers in future
married females wanted to remain employed after having a child
DISCUSSION How can we get the community at large to support working parents, in particular, mothers who want to return to the workplace?
There is an unhealthy culture of working late in Singapore, where working long hours is confused with working hard. The Government can and should do more to shift bosses’ mindsets towards mums and dads.11
RE-PRIORITISING FAMILY OVER PERSONAL GOALS? A study showed that Singaporeans were more materialistic and had a lower desire for family and children compared to Americans13
SHOULD WE PURSUE NEW 5Cs?
Companion (spouse) Clan (extended family) Creed (spiritual well-being) Charity (or compassion)
How can we reconcile family values with workplace values of excellence, productivity, and success?
Allows female employees to convert from full-time to part-time employment when they have a baby, and subsequently, convert back to full time employment subject to agreed- on conditions.
80% of single and 85% of married respondents agreed or strongly agreed that only legally married parents should have children2
indicated that divorce should not be the first option and believed that marriage should be a life-long commitment16
Nevertheless, some marriages do fail DISCUSSION
VIEWS DIFFERED ON TOPICS LIKE COHABITATION, SINGLE PARENTHOOD, AND HOMOSEXUALITY
HOW CAN WE BETTER CATER TO THE NEEDS OF DIFFERENT FAMILY STRUCTURES?
Voluntary Welfare Organisation that educates people on the value of parenthood and family, and encourages a childfriendly Singapore
Evolving Structures of Families
Marriage is regarded by Singaporeans as an important commitment to uphold15
One-stop resource that promotes stronger, healthier, and happier marriages
3-generation families When society openly and widely accepts single parenthood and cohabitation, people seem to adopt an increasingly casual attitude towards relationships and head very quickly for the door when things get rough.* Working parents sandwiched between caring for the elderly and the young
The general divorce rates have remained stable from 2006 to 201117 25% of marriages involve the re-marriage of one or both partners17
ONE-PERSON HOUSEHOLD YEAR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
Median marriage duration for divorces in 2011: 10.517
Policies that reward a traditional family structure necessarily penalise those who do not follow this model — particularly single mothers and LGBT citizens, and are therefore discriminatory.*
We need to uphold the traditional family as the bedrock of society, with both the roles of the father and the mother being celebrated and honoured.* We need to relook laws that promote intolerance and discrimination in society. For example, 377A is an archaic law that discriminates against the LGBT community.*
DISCUSSION How do we uphold family values while being respectful of all Singaporeans and their choices?
12% of resident households live in one-person households9
Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 2- Households and Housing, DOS. | 10 Singapore Fatherhood Public Perception Survey 2009, MCYS. | 11 Forum letter, Mr Aaron Low, Straits Times, 22 Jan 2013. | 12 www.employeralliance.sg| 13 ‘Maybe Babies’ , Rachel Chang and Jessica Cheam, Straits Times, 26 Jan 2013. | Building Resilient Families – The Road Ahead, National Family Council, 2006. | 15 Social Attitudes of Singaporeans Survey, 2009. | 16 End-of-Term Survey, The Marriage Central, 2010. | 17 Statistics on Marriages and Divorces, DOS, 2011. The general divorce rate was 7.6 per thousand married male residents and 7.2 per thousand married female residents. | *OSC Participants.