December 3rd, 2009

Registry of Societies approves changes to AWARE Constitution

constitutionAt the 23rd Annual General Meeting held on 26 March 2008, AWARE members voted for various amendments to the Constitution, subject to the approval of the Registry of Societies (ROS).

These amendments were approved by the ROS on 21st October 2009. The changes are fairly extensive. Some of the more significant ones relate to membership criteria and rights, and the size and composition of the governing body.

Membership eligibility

AWARE membership is open to anyone who (a) believes in the objectives of AWARE and (b) is aged 15 and above. Applicants aged between 15 and 18 must have written parental consent.

There are three categories of AWARE membership:
(a) Ordinary (renewable annually) which is open to women above 18 years of age who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents

(b) Female Associate (renewable annually) which is open to women:
• between 15 and 18 years of age who are Singapore citizens or permanent residents
• above 15 years of age who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents

(c) Male Associate (renewable annually) which is open to all men above 15 years of age.

Life membership is open to those who have been ordinary members for a total of at least 10 years and who pay a one-time fee.

Rights of Membership

Membership TypeAttend General MeetingVote at General MeetingElection as ordinary board memberElection as office bearer (President, Secretary etc)
OrdinaryYESYESYESYES
Female AssociateYESYESYES
(subject to max of 25% of Board)
NO
Male AssociateYESNONONO

Termination of Membership

The Board can terminate the membership of any member who, in its opinion, does not support the objectives of AWARE, or has acted in a manner detrimental to the interests and good name of AWARE, or whose subscriptions are more than three months in arrears.

Anyone whose membership is terminated can appeal to the General Meeting of members.

The Board

AWARE’s governing body, now called the Executive Committee and comprising 12 members, will, from the next annual general meeting, be known as the Board. It will have only seven members and will focus on governance, leaving the society’s daily operations in the hands of the Executive Director and her staff.

The term for each Board member will be two years, and the Board can co-opt up to two female members.

Another change is that the annual general meeting need not be held in March. The Board can determine another time.

AWARE’s objectives

AWARE’s objectives are unchanged but have been slightly rephrased in the new Constitution. This is how the general objectives of the society are now stated:

(a) to promote the participation of women in all areas, create an awareness of the contribution women make to society and further develop their potential through, amongst other things, education, learning and training opportunities
(b) to promote gender equality by, amongst other things, educating the public on issues relating to gender, equipping women and men to deal with various forms of discrimination, and creating awareness of their mutual rights and responsibilities
(c) to promote the well-being of women by, amongst other things, providing emotional, psychological or legal support
(d) to promote values and norms which would improve the quality of life of women and their families and achieve the betterment of Singapore society as a whole.

Members who would like a copy of the new Constitution can get one from the AWARE Secretariat.

5 Comments ...

  1. Alicia

    I understand that this is a summarised version. I would like to find out if there are guidelines or regulations regarding the appointment of the Board and the Executive Director. I believe that the remiss that resulted in the May 2009 EGM happened because previously the regulations were too lax.

    For example, someone who has completely no understanding or affiliation with and for the objectives of AWARE and who has only been a member for less than 3 months was, under the old Constitution, nominated and within weeks rose to take on a senior post within the Executive Committee.

    Has this weakness been addressed?

    #332
  2. Ch'ng Kim See

    Hi

    Is there a new condition for application of membership? Wasn’t this the problem that enabled the stealth take over?

    Ch’ng Kim See

    #333
  3. Dana Lam

    In reply to Alicia: Under the new Constitution, only those who have been members for at least 2 years can stand for election to the Board.

    Additionally, steps will be taken to ensure that those who offer themselves for election have adequate understanding of AWARE’s objectives, and that members will have more opportunity to assess the suitability of the candidates.

    The Board is drafting bye-laws that will cover these and other matters. Details will be announced later.

    #335
  4. Dana Lam

    In reply to Ch’ng Kim See: The takeover was possible because the previous Constitution allowed brand new members to stand for election to the governing body. Under the new Constitution, those who want to stand for election to the Board must have been AWARE members for at least 2 years.

    There is also a new condition for application of membership, namely, that that member must believe in the objectives of AWARE. The Board has the right to terminate the membership of any member who, in its opinion, does not support the objectives of AWARE, or has acted in a manner detrimental to the interests and good name of AWARE.

    #336
  5. question

    Good amendment but one question:

    The Josie Lau’s team (or some similar type of team that may arise within AWARE two years later) would have no problem with the new objectives published here. How to address the clash of values? For example, a group with similar values to Josie Lau’s team, after being AWARE member for two years, can stand for election and they would not have problem with these modified objectives even if their values are exactly the same values as that of Josie Lau’s team (which means, their values clashes with the values of AWARE). Is, or will, this potential problem be addressed by the current consitution or its upcoming by-laws?

    #345