FYP Documentation V.2

The Motivation

  1. Close friends and family still single but constantly under pressure to get themselves a partner
  2. Singapore has an ageing population and hence, the government policies are especially marriage centric
  3. General perception that getting married and starting a family has to be the ultimate end goal

Research Questions:

  1. What are some of the difficulties faced by a single woman in Singapore?
  2. What are some of the negative perceptions towards women who are single?
  3. Is the stigmatisation of single women in this modern society still justified?

The Problem

According to Science Daily:

  • With respect to gender role orientation, gender differences:
    • men hold more traditional gender role concepts whereas women tend to favor modern gender roles.
  • Societal changes:
    • women’s liberation movement = education, career, and individuality now important features in women’s life plans.
    • changes have led to role confusion and feelings of loss with men
    • as a result, singledom considered more positively by women than by men.


Although the number of single women has increased,

In 2009, approximately 40 percent of adults were single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

the stigma associated with being single at that age has not diminished, according to the women in this study.

“We found that never-married women’s social environments are characterized by pressure to conform to the conventional life pathway,” said Larry Ganong, co-chair of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. “This pressure was manifested in women feeling highly visible and invisible. Heightened visibility came from feelings of exposure and invisibility came from assumptions made by others.”

Specifically, single women’s social worlds include:

  • Awareness of shifting reality as they become older; for example, the shrinking pool of eligible men and increased pregnancy risks.
  • Reminders that they are on different life paths than most women when others inquire about their single status and during events, including social gatherings and weddings.
  • Feelings of insecurity and displacement in their families of origin when parents and siblings remark about their singlehood and make jokes or rude comments.

As a result, this pressure to conform feeds back into self-perceptions, leading to negative implications on how singles perceive themselves and on their personal happiness and satisfaction with their lives.




  • lower pay
  • unequal housing rights in the military
  • promotions at work
  • subsidized employee benefits
  • social security benefits
  • estate taxes
  • capital gains taxes
  • insurance
  • housing
  • in vitro fertilization
  • adoption
  • family care leave
  • travel packages and experiences
  • club memberships
  • expectations for longer work hours due to perceived less responsibility outside of work


  • BTO
    Under the Singles Singapore Citizen & Joint Singles Scheme, singles can purchase either new or resale flats. However, for BTO (new flats), singles can only buy 2-room Flexi units at non-mature estates. There are no restrictions on the size or location for resale flats.
  • Parenthood Tax Rebate*
  • Working Mother’s Child Relief*
    *both the tax rebate and relief are not extended to single unwed parents


Case Studies

#asinglelove campaign by Carrie Tan

  1. Rachel, a divorced mother, revealed that she “had to endure years of an abusive marriage just because they had a ridiculous law barring divorcees or singles under 35 from buying their own place.”
  2. Another divorced mother shared how she felt pressured to get married because of the stigma she faced as an unmarried mother  but is now still struggling through the difficult process of divorce and applying for housing.

Existing Works:

  1. Marriage Market Takeover
    SK-II Advertisement

    It covers the pressure the women face from both their parents and society to marry young and chronicles their road to acceptance. The result is a film about the brave and inspirational women who won’t let pressure dictate their future. The film shows that Sheng Nus are not leftovers but on the contrary, strong women who choose if and when they want to get married.

  2. Leftover Women
    Film by Shosh Shlam and Hilla Medalia

    This film follows three successful Chinese women who, despite thriving careers, are still labeled sheng nu, a derogatory term used in China to describe educated, women in their mid-20s and ’30s who are not married.

New considerations:

Target Audience

Too broad – further narrow down

  • Split into race?
  • single cause of sexuality
  • single by choice
  • single not by choice
  • single after divorce
  • single parents?



Government policies are always to encourage marriage because population needs a boost. Maybe can approach from the perspective of wanting to bring more awareness to change current policies? New proposals to the government? Raising awareness becomes secondary goal

Also more women than men, so statistically not everyone’s going to get married (= target women instead?)


Updated List of Keywords

  • Left on the shelf
  • Matrimania
  • Singlism
  • Sheng Nv
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Single-at-heart
  • Leftover
  • Marital Status Stigmatisation
  • Singlehood
  • Delayed marriages
  • Non marriages


Research Papers

  1. Highly-educated Singaporean women : being single by choice in a patriarchal society and how they make sense of it.
  2. State policies and single motherhood
  3. If you like it, then put a ring on it : a study of the stigmatization of singles in Singapore.
  4. Taking the single route- the good, the bad and the expectations.
  5. The unequal dimensions of singlehood: singlehood as a gendered experience
  6. Rising singlehood and the implications on the individual and the society
  7. Singlehood and the changing perspectives on marriage and childbirth.
  8. Singlehood in contemporary Singapore.
  9. Understanding rising singlehood through the changing realities of young singles in Singapore – the confounding challenges to courtship and marriage.



  • https://www.english-online.at/news-articles/living/is-marriage-becoming-old-fashioned.htm
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/297788841_She’s_single_so_what_How_are_singles_perceived_compared_with_people_who_are_married
  • https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=5097&context=dissertations
  • https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/mp-louis-ng-pushes-government-extend-tax-rebate-and-child-relief-single-unwed-parents
  • https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/end-discrimination-against-single-unwed-parents-help-those-under-35-get-housing-mp-louis
  • https://nypost.com/2018/10/10/why-millennials-are-consciously-choosing-to-remain-single/
  • https://www.insider.com/reasons-youre-better-off-being-single-according-to-science-2019-2
  • https://www.oprahmag.com/life/relationships-love/a27790346/benefits-of-being-single/
  • http://asinglelove.sg/a-place-to-call-home-single-parents-talk-housing-at-dialogue-on-17-may/
  • https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154190359731635.1073743597.195245026634&type=3

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