AWARE S'pore raises concern about PE2023 candidate who has 'history of objectifying women'

Aware also questioned why the Presidential Elections Committee granted this candidate a certificate of eligibility.

Joshua Lee | August 21, 2023, 05:36 PM

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The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) has raised concerns about a Presidential Election candidate who "has a history of objectifying women", but has been cleared to participate in the Presidential Election.

The organisation, which advocates gender equality and women's rights, did not mention the candidate's name, but their tweet came just hours after presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian addressed comments about his previous social media posts on "pretty girls".

Tan said that his posts were done in a "light" and "enjoyable" way.

He also claimed that only a very "small minority" of people were uncomfortable with his posts.

Act of objectifying women

"Consistently posting about 'pretty girls', recording videos of women in public without their consent, or commenting about their appearance isn’t merely a matter of personal preference or light 'amusement'," said AWARE.

The organisation said that it's "an act of objectifying women" which reduces them to their appearances for entertainment:

"Such behaviour from anyone in or aspiring to a position of influence suggests it's acceptable to trivialise women and overlook their myriad abilities and contributions."

AWARE also highlighted what it called a "systemic" issue: The granting of a certificate of eligibility by the Presidential Elections Committee to the candidate.

In issuing the certificate to the three candidates, the Presidential Elections Committee said it was satisfied that they were men of "integrity, good character, and reputation".

AWARE claimed that this suggests a "systemic endorsement" of unacceptable views and behaviours.

"Consider broader implications"

AWARE urged the Presidential Elections Committee to "thoroughly consider the broader implications of such endorsements in the future", and go beyond financial and management qualifications.

As of late afternoon, the tweet had received 50 retweets and 100 likes.

Mothership has reached out to Tan's team and the Elections Department for comment.

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