What happens when you ask 100 men to give their perspective on gender equality?
Creating innovative and impactful business partnerships with positive impact is part of what SwedCham, as a business community, does to contribute towards a more sustainable future. With innovative partnerships being a specific goal in the global sustainability agenda, we feel we have a duty and an opportunity to show that the business community can be a force for good.
Gender equality is something that the Nordic community is well known for. Sweden, in fact, has a feminist foreign policy. With Singapore celebrating the year of the woman, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to tap into the conversation taking place on the ground. With the conversation around gender equality being predominantly led by women, we thought it would be interesting to shift away from the perception that Women’s Rights are only a “women’s issue” and decided to hear what men had to say.
We set out to gather over 100 perspectives mainly from men, but also focused on capturing the voices of both, men and women, of all walks of life and multiple generations. With over 100 views on women and gender equality, this project provides a critical mass of insight into how our perceptions around women and gender balance are changing and it’s pretty inspiring. This is what #candid is all about.
It’s even more exciting that the collection of stories mobilised the partners to go even further. Once we got a sense of how gender norms are changing, it was clear that workplaces could collectively take concrete action to make a difference. This is how the #doubleup #paternityleave pledge was born. #Doubleup is a collective commitment by a group of companies to double the paid paternity leave benefits in Singapore together with an open call to the broader business community to join in.
We are incredibly proud to be launching an initiative that will make us more competitive employers. We trust that it will be good for business and make a difference in the lives of families.
The business community has an important role to play to make gender equality a reality. We must continue to make strides toward ensuring women are well represented in our organisations, promoted fairly, and not penalised for taking the time they need for the essential task of giving birth. In addition, we must move towards recognising that fathers too have an important role during the early months of a child's life. Parental leave for both mothers and fathers is one of the levers to building a more equal society.
As business leaders, we can make a difference.
We have the choice to intentionally build a corporate culture that does not simply tolerate, but encourages fathers to be there for their baby, to savour the joys and moments of fatherhood. By promoting paternity leave, we can create a ripple effect towards equality. A truly equal workplace will ultimately level the playing field for both men and women, at home and at work.
With a commitment towards equality and inclusion, we are making a collective pledge to promote gender equality.
Starting 2022, we will extend the prevailing two weeks of paid paternity leave for all male employees in Singapore to four paid weeks.
As business leaders from many different industries, we have a myriad of visions of what our thriving businesses can look like, but we also have a vision of how we, collectively, can contribute to society.
This pledge is also about coming together through business alliances and collective action. That is why this pledge is not only an announcement of our shared vision. It is an invitation to the broader business community to come onboard, to join forces and share solutions that will pave the way.
We have a long way to go but every step counts.
We do not have all the solutions at hand but we can figure it out together.
Let’s come together to make our companies a forward-thinking frontier for business, not just in our operational ambitions but also with our drive to lead the way toward a more equitable society for all.
Inspired by IKEA who took the first steps to offer twice the amount of Singapore’s two-week paternity leave in 2017, the following partners have joined the #doubleup pledge:
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Increasing paternity leave, like what 9 Swedish MNCs here have pledged, is a good place to start.
The Switzerland Times