Public Release: 

Celebrating 50 years of the lives of women in Singapore

World Scientific


IMAGE: This is the cover of 'Our Lives to Live: Putting a Woman's Face to Change in Singapore,' edited by Kanwaljit Soin and Margaret Thomas. view more

Credit: World Scientific, 2015

"How far are we from achieving gender equality"? The answer to this was set on its trajectory from the passing of the landmark Women's Charter in 1961, just four years before the Singapore's conception as a nation.

Singapore has done well with gender equality across several indicators. Firstly, we have the second lowest lifetime risk of maternal death in the world (State of the World's Mothers 2014 report published by Save The Children). Secondly, we have slightly more women than men in our local university enrolment intake, a significant improvement from only 28% in 1960. Our female labour force participation rate has also more than doubled, from nearly one in four women in 1965 to nearly three in five in 2014.

The opportunities made available to women are also far and large, ranging from women serving in the air force as pilots and firefighters in the Civil Defense, to prominent roles like Ambassador Chan Heng Chee being the first woman to be appointed Singapore's Permanent Representative to the UN and Ambassador to the US, and Madam Halimah Yacob Singapore's first woman Speaker of Parliament. And the list goes on.

Despite the good record, there are gaps that need attention. Published in celebration of the nation's Jubilee as well as gender equality, World Scientific's latest book Our Lives to Live: Putting a Woman's Face to Change in Singapore, shares a potpourri of perspectives from more than 30 women from different walks of life.

The book explores and documents how women's roles, choices, and voices in Singapore have changed in the last 50 years. The 31 chapters, some with a more academic slant, others with a distinctly personal tone, reflect the rich diversity and depth of women's contributions to Singapore's evolution in the last half century, and also point to the problematical areas that still need attention.

Among the authors are some of Singapore's most accomplished women in many different fields -- Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, political scientist and diplomat Chan Heng Chee, global women's activist Noeleen Heyzer, sociologist and politician Aline Wong, food ambassador Violet Oon, sports legend Pat Chan, law lecturer and playwright Eleanor Wong, and novelist Meira Chand.

The book will be sold at all major bookstores for S$74 (hardcover) and S$37 (paperback). More information about the book can be found at


About World Scientific Publishing:

World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. The company publishes about 500 books annually and more than 120 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit

About the World Scientific Series on Singapore's 50 Years on Nation-Building:

To commemorate Singapore's 50 years of nation-building, World Scientific is launching a 25-volume book series covering important aspects of Singapore's development. Experts who have championed or played significant roles in many of Singapore's nation-building initiatives have come on board to edit the books. All volumes will be scholarly, inspirational, and easy to read in order to reach out to a wide audience. For details, please see

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