January 17th, 2011

Honouring 25 Years of AWARE

9th November 2010 – On 25th November 1985, the Association of Women for Action and Research was officially registered as a society. To mark its 25th anniversary, the women’s rights group is organising Celebrate! AWARE’s 25th Birthday Party, a flea, fun and food fair on 27th November at the AWARE Centre.

“Since its formation on 25 November 1985, AWARE has been the nation’s most vibrant feminist organisation and done much to address the gender gap and to help improve women’s lives in Singapore. Twenty-five years is a major milestone for us and we would like to celebrate our successes with the community and to thank our volunteers and supporters for their commitment, dedication and tenacity to the cause” says Nicole Tan, President of AWARE.

“Given the culture and environment that we operate in, we are proud to have achieved as much as we have, and overcome setbacks and challenges that we have encountered. Over the years, we have remained the most consistently active voice in Singapore civil society. At 25, we are stronger now than ever before and filled with as much idealism and enthusiasm as when we first started to work towards a better society. We can stand up tall and say the fire in the belly is still there,” Ms Tan says.

The event, which aims to reach out to the community, combines entertainment, shopping, food, art, and an open exchange of ideas, all in a relaxed carnival-like setting. AWARE’s Executive Director Corinna Lim says the event is the perfect way to mark 25 amazing years.

Rather than a gala dinner or members-only event, AWARE chose a family-friendly fun fair held at its Dover Road centre to welcome members of the public and the community to attend. The event is called ‘Celebrate’ because there is so much for all of us to celebrate.,” explains Ms Lim.

“Women have made gains in all areas in the last 25 years. Girls have equal access to education. There are many more women in the workplace than ever before. Many policies which were blatantly discriminatory against women have been changed. It is still not a completely level playing field but at least we are very much in the game. We continue to hope that one day, we will have a female Prime Minister and every major company worth its salt will have female directors making up at least one third of their boards. When women win, the whole society benefits,” she says.

Looking back: AWARE’s Key Achievements
In the last 25 years AWARE has worked hard to achieve many breakthroughs for women in Singapore. Our valuable work over the past two decades has contributed to securing:

2007 Revisions to the penal code, including issues of marital rape
2007 United Nations recognition of how Singapore can become more compliant with the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women
2005 Equalisation of benefits for male and female Civil Servants
2004 Citizenship rights for children born overseas to Singaporean women
2003 Removing the quota restricting female intake in NUS Medical Faculty
1999 Women being allowed to sponsor their foreign spouses for citizenship or PR status
1995 Revisions to the Women’s Charter to provide more protection for victims of domestic violence.

In addition three past-presidents serve as Nominated Members of Parliament:
Kanwaljit Soin (1992), Claire Chiang (1997) and Braema Mathi (2001) .

Celebrate! AWARE’s 25th Birthday Party
A Flea, Food and Fun Fair featuring performances by Inch Chua, Lunarin, Baracuda Batucada, Like A Band and classical Indian dancer Aarthi Sankar. In addition to the flea market and tasty treats, there will also be an exciting lineup of activities such as a children’s dance competition, an “unconference conference” in the style of BarCamp and an interactive art installation.

WHEN: Saturday November 27th, 12 noon to 8pm.
WHERE: AWARE Centre and the Open Space outside Block 5, Dover Crescent.
CONTACT: Interviews with AWARE’s Executive Director, President or Vice-President can be arranged on request. Email ed@aware.org.sg or media@aware.org.sg
WEBSITE: www.aware.org.sg/celebrate

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