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Women in science and medicine

06 November 2012

Guest-of-Honour Minister Teo sharing how women can manage their careers and family commitments

The outstanding women clinicians and scientists who spoke during the dialogue

Passion in one's work, family support and priority-setting are some of the key aspects to maintaining a good work-life balance. These were highlighted during the inaugural "Women in Science & Medicine" dialogue on 5 November, jointly organised by the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore at NUS, and the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's Department of Biochemistry and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The event was held in conjunction with the Frontiers in Cancer Science 2012.

Delivering the opening address, Guest-of-Honour Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, said that women can both have a successful career and a family, making this a "double success" rather than a "double burden".

"Women are too valuable a talent pool for us not to give them sufficient opportunity to fully blossom," said Minister Teo, who is a mother of three. She noted that with the introduction of paternity leave, husbands will be able to share more care-giving responsibilities. The government is also committed to uplift the pre-school quality and keeping it affordable, she said.

Sharing from her personal experience, Minister Teo said that the use of technology has allowed her to juggle work and family commitments simultaneously. Following the birth of her twin daughters, she was given the option to work from home. Her employer's flexibility shows that such work arrangements are possible options for women.

Besides Minister Teo, seven illustrious women clinicians and scientists also shared their experiences of overcoming challenges in managing their careers and family responsibilities. Among them were Professor Elizabeth Blackburn from the University of California, San Francisco, the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; Professor Ivy Ng, Group Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Health Services who was voted "Woman of the Year 2012" by Her World magazine; as well as NUS' Professor Mary Ng Mah Lee, Professor Saw Seang Mei and Associate Professor Marie-Veronique Clement.