Channel News Asia (CNA) carried an article this morning headlined, “Singapore best place in Asia to be a mother.”
We were actually number 15 globally in this table based on a study by “Save the Children.” The article assumes that Australia, which was at number 9, is not part of Asia.
I read CNA’s headline and thought, “Oh boy. This is going to a lot of Singapore mothers’ knickers in a twist.” While there are comments on CNA’s thread on their Facebook page both applauding and denigrating the article, here are some of the detractor’s comments (unedited):
“But is it the best place to be a children? They are so stressed over academic achievements here. A lot of ppl I know wish to migrate with their kids for a more stress free life.”
“Agree with this article, but they should also post an article Singapore rank in bottom half as a place to be a mom based on other categories. Don’t only write the positive, also look at the negative, that’s how the nation can improve.”
“Best place? Mum stresses for Child’s education, not included?”
It goes on – you can go to their Facebook post to see all the comments – good and bad.
Personally, I thought it was odd that we were ranked the “best place in Asia to be a mother.” When I read CNA’s article, I came to the realisation that the context was not painted adequately. The “Mothers’ Index” by Save the Children is derived from health, educational and economic factors. Their work seems aimed at developing countries where women’s mortality, safety, and economic progress are major issues. These are not issues faced by developed nations like Singapore.
Here is a quote from the CNA article:
“In Singapore, lifetime risk of maternal mortality has been cut by 80 per cent, child mortality decreased by 25 per cent, gross national income per capita doubled and percentage of women in parliament increased six-fold over the past 15 years, the report noted.
Singapore has done well on the index, far ahead of its regional counterparts, with significant cuts in maternal and child mortality, as well as improvements in the percentage of women in leadership positions in the country,” said Greg Duly, Regional Director for Save the Children in Southeast and East Asia.”
So the foremost issues that concern the organisation seem to be mortality, economic and leadership progress of women.
My hunch is that the issues that make being a mother in Singapore challenging are our education system, time with child, stress, and money (lower and sandwiched class). These do not seem to be measured in the study.
The headline, “Singapore best place in Asia to be a mother,” in my view, is a sweeping generalisation. Yes, it is true based on the study but a wider context to frame this statement would have been more accurate. For example, “Singapore best place in Asia to be a mother” with a sub-head that clarifies that it is based on mortality, economic progress, etc. The article could then elaborate on issues Singapore mothers face.
This sweeping headline will no doubt create much debate and conversation online. Oh wait, that could have been the intention.
In which case, ignore all of this.
Link to State of the World’s Mothers Report (Full Report)