Mdm Halimah Yacob began her career as a legal officer in 1978 with the National Trades Union Congress. In 1992, she became the Director of the Legal Services Department. During her work with the labour movement, Mdm Halimah was appointed Director of the then Singapore Institute of Labour Studies (now known as the Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies) in 1999.
Mdm Halimah represented Singapore in the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation for four terms since 1999 and was the first Singaporean to be elected into the organisation. She served as the Workers’ Vice-Chairperson of the Standards Committee of the International Labour Conference. As an active leader with the union, Mdm Halimah served as the Executive Secretary of the United Workers of Electronics and as the Director of the Women’s Development Secretariat from January 2008 to May 2011. She also represented the union on the Economic Review Committee and was part of the sub-committee whose key priority was jobs creation during the 2001 economic recession.
Mdm Halimah entered politics in 2001 when she was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC). Her last and fourth term as an MP was in the newly formed Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
Mdm Halimah was appointed Minister of State for the Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCYS) in 2011. In this role, Mdm Halimah introduced activity centres and home-based care for seniors, and enhanced services for the disabled through the Centre for Enabled Living (now known as SG Enable). She also laid the foundation for the establishment of Social Service Offices across Singapore.
In 2013, Mdm Halimah was appointed as the ninth Speaker of Parliament. She was the first woman to serve as a Speaker in the Parliament of Singapore.
Mdm Halimah is active in social causes, and is the Patron of the PPIS (Singapore Muslim Women’s Association), Ain Society, Club HEAL, Singapore Association of Mental Health, Sian Chay TCM and the women’s shelter, Casa Raudha.
For her passion in women’s issues, Mdm Halimah was awarded the Woman of the Year by Her World magazine in 2003 as well as The AWARE Heroine Award in 2011. She was also inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Mdm Halimah was conferred the Berita Harian / McDonalds Achiever of the Year in 2001. She was conferred the Doctors of Laws by the National University of Singapore in 2016.
In August 2017, Mdm Halimah stepped down as Speaker of Parliament to contest in the Presidential Election. She was sworn in as the 8th President of the Republic of Singapore on 14 September 2017.