SAHMs and Work

Mother and child on a bicycle

🕒 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Housewife or stay-at-home-mother (SAHM) are some terms to typically describe a woman out of the labour force to care for their children while the other partner works professionally. 

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s Comprehensive Labour Force Survey in 2020, an estimated number of 64,000 females state their main reason for not working is to care for their families. 

The concept of filial piety is common especially in East and Southeast Asia. Well…. We’re pretty sure it has been drilled into us since young.

In both East and Southeast Asia’s familial context, filial piety is primarily based on gender divisions. This means that traditionally, women are expected to be responsible for familial care and financial management while men are to earn. 

This mindset has been ingrained since the olden days and has been actively enforcing socially constructed roles and behaviours based on their assigned sex.

Thus, the women in the family today are encouraged to leave the workforce to take care of their family members. 

However, with an upcoming generation that is rewriting traditional identity narratives and redefining new rules, the newer generation’s understanding is challenging the traditional idea of filial piety and stereotypical gender roles in a family.

On the other hand, the older generations are having difficulty accepting the deviation from the “norm”.

Today’s SAHM differs from yesterday’s. 

More SAHMs are voicing out their wish to join the workforce although their priority still lies in taking care of their family at home. However, the availability of suitable jobs and flexible work arrangements are their top concern. 

The current job market mostly has job opportunities and channels that cater to fresh graduates or those seeking a career switch. There are little to no channels that reach out to SAHMs as a targeted audience. 

With SAHM being a 24/7 “job”, most are not able to easily “schedule” their time as they are likely to plan as they go about their day. This becomes difficult especially for those that wish to work while caring for the elderly or young children. 

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic where job and financial security is adding to SAHMs’ worries, seeking paid work is viewed as one alternative to share their breadwinner husbands’ burdens. 

Existing labour policies, schemes and programmes can be confusing for SAHMs. Therefore, it would be a relief for them if the information is relayed more straightforwardly.

One way is via the use of a digital outsourcing app as a useful channel for SAHMs who are starting out.

As an example, the digital outsourcing app, Outside, creates micro-jobs which gives SAHMs the opportunity to pick up jobs and get paid. At the same time, it helps SAHMs to integrate into the workforce at their own pace and convenience. 

Through a flexible working arrangement and low commitment jobs, SAHM will still be able to maintain their “role” in the family while developing their self-identity in the modern world.

Outside is Singapore’s leading community micro-job platform that creates micro (l)earning opportunities for students, homemakers and seniors. 

As a two-sided platform, Outside provides an all-in-one outsourcing management platform for businesses, assisting in breaking down jobs into smaller simpler pieces and improving operations efficiency. For job seekers, Outside provides flexible job opportunities that users can easily pick up and complete within the Outside app, allowing them to work conveniently and earn reliably.

Download our app on Apple Store and Google Play to find out more!




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