In September last year, Member of Parliament Louis Ng raised the issue in parliament that despite the Government’s efforts to be more inclusive, it has not completely resolved the housing needs of single unwed parents, especially those under the age of 35.
Unwed mothers face a double disadvantage: They single-handedly bear not only the typical burden of motherhood, but also the stigma and tribulations of being unmarried in a society that encourages a mainstream definition of parenthood (i.e. within marriage). Single parenthood also sees one person take on an incredibly heavy responsibility meant for two.
This is a cumulation of effort by MPs, activists, social workers and single parents themselves who were instrumental in moving Singapore toward greater compassion for unwed mothers. Unreliable housing seriously undermines a mother’s ability to stay employed, to protect her children from abuse, and to have the time and space to plan for her family’s future.
The struggle for a life free from discrimination and social stigma is far from over for these mothers. There is still much work to create a roadmap towards housing equality for all mothers so that an unwed mother and her children would count as a family nucleus, enabling them to apply for public housing under the Families Scheme. We hope that in future, unwed parents, whether the children end up with the father or mother, would have access to housing as a matter of policy and not on a case-by-case basis. There would be a separate scheme for those under the age of 35 to apply for 2- or 3-room flats (similar to the existing Orphans or Joint Singles Scheme). - CNA Commentary Article Online