Singapore struggles with sexual harassment

Jul 18 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Though it's likely that many of us tend to think of workplace ills, such as discrimination or sexual harassment, as home-grown, you may be surprised (and disheartened) to know that these are problems that know no borders.

Just take a look at this recent survey by the women's advocacy group, Aware, of workers in Singapore.

According to the study of 500 employees, over half of the respondents claimed to have suffered some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. Of that number, 1 in 5 were men!

What's more alarming is that the number of tips and calls received on the Aware hotlines have skyrocketed in the past few years, indicating that this is a problem on the rise.

Not being well-versed in Singapore law, but remembering them to have a somewhat "tough" penal system, I am somewhat surprised that government authorities haven't taken a harder line against discrimination and inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

But currently, it seems that the government (based on comments from a Labour MP interviewed in the aforementioned article) is more interested in having companies find solutions themselves to address such issues.

While having companies implement such policies is a nice dream, how do you ask a company guilty of sexual harassment from the top down to police their own behavior? If you find the sense in that solution, please do leave a comment.


Older Comments

this is a classic stance taken by the PAP regime -- ie pro workforce. something like sexual harassment is a thorn in the flesh of money hungry MNCs that want to maximize profits while operating in this 1st world cesspool.

why slow down progress for something like sexual harassment when the prosecution and enforcement is extremely difficult to prove or put in place.

as long as Singaporeans are making money, why bother with these inconsequential rights. after all, it is better to have money in the pocket and be sexually harassed instead of being pennyless because of no jobs (but have protection against sexual harassment if it were to happen). the rights of the peasants will be an obstacle when it comes to the 'good governance' efforts of bringing large savvy MNCs to provide jobs.

therefore it is better not to have sexual harassment laws. So say LKY and his cronies.

johnnylikesdemocracy singapore

My girlfriend is a victim of sexual harassment in singapore, it has exceded to such lengths that her boss is calling her on the phone EVERY SINGLE DAY.

There was even a scare with the possibility that he drugged her, dizzyness, in and out sleeping. Hopefully she was not raped, but it would seem like she wasn't. Maybe he changed his mind? She ate some 'ginger' provided to her by him...

Anyway, this man is constantly asking where she is, what she is doing, and even asks to go to her place after work hours to provide 'medicine' when she is sick... He is 50 years old, is married and has sent her dirty emails, has admited to hiring prostitutes to her, massages her shoulders at random... and is always asking to go out to pubs and lunch with her AFTER working hours...

She is only 24 and a bit naive. Her Job Description, Secretary....

But this is a clear example of management abuse.


This happens to me at work. My boss 'accidentally' touch my breast and ask me to put rubber gloves for him. Also hinted that he is clean and will pay $$$. And he is quite a popular and well respected and well known medical professional.