MP He Ting Ru

Ms He Ting Ru asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs (a) if any analyses have been done on whether there is a gender gap within the Ministry between men and women in (i) positions of deputy director-general or above, (ii) terms of attrition rates and, (iii) the reasons for the differences between the point at which attrition rates are highest; and (b) if so, what are the findings.

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan: Currently, half of MFA officers are women. The proportion of women at superscale grades has doubled from 15% in 2010 to 29% in 2022. There is no significant difference in attrition between men and women in MFA. We acknowledge that the obligation to serve multiple postings overseas is especially disruptive for MFA officers with spouses and young children, particularly women, who bear a disproportionate burden of caregiving.  

The Ministry regularly reviews our HR policies, including terms for overseas postings, to provide a more conducive environment for officers to realise their career aspirations and fulfil their family obligations. We expect more women to take on senior roles in the Ministry as we need all the talent we can recruit, nurture and deploy in the Foreign Service.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
20 March 2023

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