3 hours before a media conference was to be held on Friday to announce a joint report on gender discrimination in Singapore to be submitted to the United Nations, the conference itself was cancelled without an inkling of information.

Media reporters who were slated to attended the event got to work investigating the cause of the no-show instead.

As it turns out, reporters found out that at least 4 groups, which include the Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS), the People’s Association’s Women Integration Network and the NTUC Women and Family Unit, had withdrawn their support for the report, citing divisive issues such as “a call for the removal of Section 377A of the Penal Code which criminalises sex between men, a shift away from abstinence-based sex education, a ban on polygamy, and tighter rules on Muslim inheritance and marriage.”

The conference would have taken place at the Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations (SCWO) headquarters in Waterloo Street at 10AM today. The report would also have featured a general survey of gender discrimination in areas such as employment, family, politics and violence against women.

The conference’s slated speakers were Ms Malathi Das, former president of the SCWO, Ms Jolene Tan, the Association of Women for Action and Research’s (AWARE) head of advocacy and research, and Ms Halijah Mohamad, vice president of the Singapore Association of Women’s Lawyers.

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