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HOW MIGHT WE NURTURE AND SUPPORT STRONG FAMILIES?

Defining

Family Values

Trends in Marriage and Family

Getting Married

The majority of Singaporeans aspire to marry and have children2

Many Singaporeans want to reaffirm strong family ties

83%

›80%

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

31.0%

2006

38.8%

27.1%

2001

33.5%

TOO

YOUNG!

FEMALES (%)

2011

44.2%

Commitment and communication

saving money for housing

saving money for wedding

feeling too young for marriage

Having Children

Singaporeans are marrying later3 2001

2011

28.7

2001

30.1

27.8

feMales

Median Age of First Marriage

Filial responsibility

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

23.6

17.5 9.1 7.0

6.0 8.4

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

DISCUSSION

Singaporeans still find joy in having children

2011

26.0

Males

DISCUSSION

A revised Marriage and Parenthood Package was launched in 2013

Love

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

22.3%

% of singles aged 30-34

Mutual respect

Why Singaporeans are not getting married2:

Why dating couples are delaying marriage2:

MALES (%)

DO THE FIVE CORE FAMILY VALUES STILL RESONATE WITH SINGAPOREANS TODAY?

HELPING OR HURTING?

Childless

or more

2000

2011

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.

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BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY

FLEXI-WORK ARRANGEMENTS (FWA)

47% of married couples both work in 20109

Efforts from the private and people sectors

People Sector

Private Sector

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

95%

found parenthood very fulfilling & wanted to do more

>50%

cited work responsibilities, financial difficulties, or pressure as key challenges

MORE AND BETTER CHILDCARE CENTRES

IBM

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

2

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

80%

of single females wanted to be working mothers in future

77%

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

DBS Bank

VIEWS DIFFERED ON TOPICS LIKE COHABITATION, SINGLE PARENTHOOD, AND HOMOSEXUALITY

HOW CAN WE BETTER CATER TO THE NEEDS OF DIFFERENT FAMILY STRUCTURES?

›90%

Children

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

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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

RECONSTITUTED families

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.

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