Wednesday, April 13, 2016

One Step Forward

Unwed mothers are set to benefit from government-paid maternity leave, with proposed amendments to the relevant legislation by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to apply to children born from early next year. Likewise, these children will also qualify for a Child Development Account (CDA), including the S$3,000 CDA First Step grant that was announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech last month. The MSF is currently preparing the legislation and system enhancement for this, which will likely kick in for children born from the third quarter of this year. 
[article via TODAY on 12 April 2016]

This is something long long overdue. The unfairness of it made me angry for the longest time. When I have time to look up from my old folks and step in to help out the friends with their lists, I'm always angered by the treatment of unwed mothers by the very agencies that are supposed to lend assistance.

I never understood why our government makes this distinction between mothers who are married and those who aren't. It's clearly ostracizing unwed mothers and depriving their children who need these benefits and help the most.

It has nothing to do with encouraging women to be married and start families when they're 'ready'. No family values are going to be eroded because unwed mothers are given equal benefits as married ones. It's about penalizing unwed women who never ask to be single mothers. It's a form of discrimination that really leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Worse if she's called 'ungodly' and cut off from all help from her existing traditionalistic family. Allo, going down that road, we're all sinners.

Now that our government has finally heeded the call to stop being so blind, chauvinistic and prejudiced, this is a great policy shift. It's logical and it's fair. Equality in this aspect. I'm so glad this happened. 

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