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KFAW Asian Researchers Network Seminar

KFAW Asian Researchers Network FY2012-3 (December 20, 2012)
"Recent State of Affairs in Singapore: Falling Birthrates and Progressive Greying of the Population:"

1.Date December 20, 2012
2.Venue Kitakyushu Municipal Gender Equality Center “MOVE”
3.Lecturer Ms. Keiko Tamura, Professor, Graduate School of the University of Kitakyushu
4.Participants 23

Singapore, a small city state in Southeastern Asia, is well-known for having achieved an economic prosperity even greater than that of Japan. At the same time, just like Japan, Singapore is facing the serious social problems of a rapidly declining birthrate and an aging population.
As a country with almost no natural resources, Singapore has long believed that human resources are their only resources and have strived to improve their labor force from both quantity and quality perspectives. Of particular note is the social advancement of women in the country. The former Prime Minister, LEE Kuan Yew, believed that there would be no future in society if half of the population was not educated or utilized just because they were women. He thought that women in Singapore should receive a good education and their abilities should be fully utilized. Based upon this belief, Singapore has been actively promoting efforts to encourage women to work outside the home, such as by promoting primary and secondary education, and accepting foreign domestic workers. As a result, in 2011, a considerable increase was observed both in women’s labor participation rate (60%) and the percentage of women managers within the government and in other public organizations (35.1%). However, the total fertility rate decreased from 3.1 in 1970 to 1.15 in 2010, indicating the rapid decline in the birthrate.
To resolve this situation, the government is promoting a wide variety of measures, such as providing family support and increasing the number of foreign domestic workers. However, many more people believe that these are merely makeshift measures that will not produce favorable long-term results. In this regard, it is expected that drastic measures will be taken in the future.