"Yet, many feel that they have to make difficult choices between family and work,” she said on Wednesday, speaking at a book launch.
She said while fathers are starting to take on more responsibility at home, employers also need to recognise that progressive work practices such as flexiwork arrangements make good business sense.
"A key success factor is to nurture a supportive work culture where there is mutual trust and understanding between colleagues and supervisors - that it is the quality of work that matters, and not 'face time'.”
In December last year, the Ministry of Manpower
’s (MOM) biennial employment survey showed almost one in two firms (or 47%) provided at least one formal flexible work arrangement, up from 38% in 2011.
Of the types of flexible work arrangements, part-time work was the most common, offered by 36% of companies. This was followed by flexi-time at 12%, staggered hours at 11% and formal tele-working at 5.8%.
Earlier this month, Singapore also topped the annual Asia Mothers’ Index, rates 179 countries based on five indicators relating to maternal health, children's well-being, education, income levels and the political status of women.
Singaporean women had made strides since the city-state’s independence was obtained 50 years ago, Fu said.
"Singaporean women have seized opportunities, stepped up and succeeded through merit and sheer hard work," she said, giving the example of Singapore's first "Golden Girl" Patricia Chan, a national swimmer who bagged a gold in all the 39 events that she competed in at the Southeast Asian Pensinsula Games from 1965 to 1973.
But, there is still work to do.
Women make up more than 80% of economically inactive residents in the prime age group of 25 to 54. Of these, 80% said they are not working because of family responsibilities, she said.
"With support from family members, employers and the community, I hope more women can find fulfilment at work and at home."
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu believes many young Singaporean women aspire to combine work and family.