Baby-making: Get on board earlier, says woman MP
Sun, Nov 11, 2007
The Straits Times

AS people look set to live and work for longer, women ought to consider putting their career on hold to have children as they will a lot of time to focus on work later, said a woman MP.

Making the pitch to young couples on Sunday, MP Josephine Teo (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) urged them to include both work and family in their lives.

Mrs Teo, who has a son aged nine and twin daughters aged seven, was responding to PAP members who raised concerns during a dialogue with PAP leaders about the low birth rate, despite national efforts to boost it.

The efforts have included a slew of cash and tax incentives - including a parenthood package of $575 million in 2005.

But the increase in the birthrate has been small: there were 400 more babies in 2005 than the year before. Last year, 36,200 babies were registered, 700 more than those in 2005.

Mrs Teo urged young couples to relook the conventional approach of putting career before children, as lifespans stretch.

'If we think of...85 and beyond being a likelihood, what is the hurry to do the things that can be done later?'

'I would arrange my life so that I have more children, start a family earlier, start it sooner, and then when the children are a little bit older, I can put my heart back to work,' said Mrs Teo, a human resources director with the labour movement.

But putting children as a top priority was no easy decision, she conceded.

In fact, she and her husband, had made a tough call to give up careers in Suzhou, China, to return to Singapore, so Mrs Teo could tap on their families to care for the babies.

Read the full report in today's edition of The Straits Times.

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