A society where there is true gender equality – where women and men are valued as individuals free to make informed and responsible choices about their lives.
To remove all gender-based barriers so as to allow individuals in Singapore to develop their potential to the fullest and realise their personal visions and hopes.
We do this in three ways:
- Research and advocacy
- Education and training
- Support services.
AWARE is Singapore’s leading gender equality advocacy group.
AWARE believes in the rights of women and men to make informed and responsible choices about their lives and to have equal opportunities in education, marriage and employment, and in the right of women to control their own bodies, particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive rights.
AWARE is dedicated to removing gender-based barriers.
These barriers apply to both women and men, but because of the way human society has evolved, it is women who are more likely to come up against these barriers. These barriers, whether structural, attitudinal, or self-imposed, prevent individuals in Singapore from developing their potential to the fullest and realising their personal visions and hopes.
AWARE works to identify and eliminate these barriers through research and advocacy, education and training and support services.
Since its formation in 1985, AWARE has carried out research into numerous issues affecting women, including workplace sexual harassment, poverty of older women and Singapore’s compliance with UN anti-gender discrimination standards.
AWARE provides a feminist perspective in the national dialogue. It has effectively advocated against laws, public policies and mindsets that discriminate against women. AWARE has contributed towards the strengthening of laws dealing with domestic violence.
The AWARE Training Institute (ATI) develops and provides training to empower women to achieve independence. ATI also provides educational programmes to organisations and the public on issues that affect women.
AWARE’s Support Services provides crisis counselling, assistance in dealing with the authorities, and legal advice to women in need.
AWARE is a not-for-profit organisation. We are funded by donations, grants, and member subscriptions. We are a registered charity with Institute of Public Character status, so all donations to AWARE are tax-deductible.
History & Achievements
In late 1984 a group of women who had taken part in the seminar ‘Women’s Choices, Women’s Lives’ decided they needed to do more than just make or listen to speeches about the situation of women in Singapore. They felt what was needed was a women’s group able to campaign for gender equality in a coherent and consistent way, basing its arguments on research and a thorough understanding of the issues. AWARE was thus formed. We came into being officially on 25 November 1985.
Our work since then has contributed to these changes in laws and policies in Singapore:
- Revisions to the penal code, including issues of marital rape
- United Nations recognition of the areas for Singapore to become more compliant with CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women)
- Development of legal reforms that addressed gaps in Singapore’s legislation on trafficking (in collaboration with NUS Pro Bono Law Society)
- Equalisation of medical benefits for male and female civil servants
- Constitutional amendment to accord same citizenship rights to the children of Singaporean women as the children of Singaporean men
- Government acknowledgement that men and women play equal roles as joint “heads of household”
- Appointment of Braema Mathiaparanam as Nominated Member of Parliament (she was nominated by AWARE)
- Lifting of the quota restricting female intake to the medical faculty at the National University of Singapore
- Policy change to allow women to sponsor their foreign spouses for citizenship or PR status
- Revisions to the Women’s Charter to provide more protection for victims of domestic violence
- Education Ministry decision to offer “Life Skills for Boys and Girls”. Previously girls did home economics and boys did technical studies
- Changes to police handling of rape cases as a result of the AWARE Rape Study Committee’s “Proposal for standardising and enhancing police procedures in rape management”
- Decision of the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) to develop new guidelines to curb sex discrimination in advertisements.
Over the years, AWARE has published more than 20 books and research reports.
- 2008 – Workplace Sexual Harassment (Research report)
- 2007 – United Nations CEDAW Shadow Report
- 2007 – Small Steps, Giant Leaps (book)
- 2006 – Foreign Bride Report: Beyond Happily Ever After (Research report)
- 2006 – Beyond Borders: Sex with Children (research report)
- 2005 – Beyond Babies: National Duty or Personal Choice? (Research report)
- 2004 – Beyond Youth: Women Growing Older and Poorer (Research report)
- 2002 – Remaking Singapore: Views of Half the Nation (research report)
- 2000 – Rape: Weapon of Terror (Research report)