The People’s Association’s Women’s Executive Committees (WECs) should come up with new programmes that attract younger women and there is a need for these committees to reinvent themselves to meet the changing needs and aspirations of women today, said Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, on Saturday while speaking at a programme to mark 50 years of formation of these committees.
Delving into the past, PM Lee said, “The first women's sub-committee was set up in 1967 during a time of nation-building, to engage women through learning vocational skills like cooking and sewing.”
He added, “Its role has since evolved to bring women together by organising activities to promote community bonding, empower women and help the less fortunate. As Singapore progressed, the role of women in society has also changed.”
Beyond the traditional roles of homemaker and caregiver, Lee said many women are now pursuing their own careers. Female participation in the labour force is also at 60 per cent.
The Prime Minister said, “The WECs therefore need to maintain its existing networks by meeting the interests of current members, but also come up with new programmes that attract younger women. This is also while building a support network within their neighbourhood.”
The programme was attended by 950 volunteers and partners. There are currently over 2,500 women volunteers in 104 WECs based in community centres and club. A book was also launched in the programme.
During the programme, WEC also launched a new scholarship to groom more women as community leaders. The scholarship was given to 10 female students, each receiving SGD1000, which will help them learning about community work.