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Concluding Observations, CEDAW/C/SGP/CO/4, 10 August 2011: Singapore

21. The Committee reiterates its concern about the persistence of patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the roles and responsibilities of women and men within the family and society at large. In this regard, the Committee is particularly concerned that, despite the legal equality accorded to spouses, discriminatory traditional cultural attitudes that continue to utilize “the head of the household” concept, assigning this role to men, persist in the State party. Additionally, the Committee is concerned by the pervasiveness of advertising for products and services to improve body image and conform to societal expectations, as well as at the lack of clear guidelines to non-medical practitioners, such as aesthetic clinics, beauty clinics and spas.

It notes that such cultural overemphasis of women’s beauty and the lack of effective regulations on its commercial exploitation, including by the media, reinforces the image of women as sex objects and constitutes serious obstacles to women’s enjoyment of their human rights and the fulfillment of the rights enshrined in the Convention. The Committee further notes that despite the fact that the State party recognizes the principle of equality of all persons before the law, as enshrined in the Constitution, regardless of gender, sexual orientation and gender identity CEDAW/C/SGP/Q/4/Add.1, para. 113), there is still negative stereotyping of women belonging to this group.

22. The Committee calls upon the State party:

(a) To put in place, without delay, a comprehensive strategy to modify or eliminate patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes that discriminate against women, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in conformity with the provisions of the Convention. Such measures should include efforts, in collaboration with civil society, to educate and raise awareness of this subject, targeting women and men at all levels of society; (…)

Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CEDAW-Republic of Korea-2011-eng