Women and HIV (June 2013)
The Women and HIV project was commissioned by AWARE for implementation by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health of the National University of Singapore. The report suggested several measures: first, HIV drugs be made affordable for all, especially foreign wives; secondly, a compassionate approach to HIV positive foreign wives, particularly in regards to deportation; third, training of medical personnel and social workers about the stigmatisation of HIV positive women; lastly, a change to media representations of HIV positive women as healthy, not sickly, as many of these women lead healthy lives and should not be treated or portrayed as different from people with other long-term diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. A roundtable is planned to be held in December, to present the findings of this research. Two academic papers are currently being written and the Executive Summary of this project will be available in the near future.
Foreign Wives of Singapore (May 2013)
Transnational marriages between Singapore citizens and non-citizens are on the increase. In 2010, such marriages made up 40.6% of all marriages and in 2008, approximately two in every ten births in Singapore were to non-citizen wives. Their lack of permanent residence or citizenship status has detrimental impact on family life. This project sub-committee conducted a comprehensive research and policy analysis on the plight of non-citizen wives and recently completed a paper to highlight the research findings and recommendations. The paper is an evaluation of the barriers and hardship faced by foreign wives, together with recommendations for legal and policy changes to alleviate their predicament. This research was conducted in consultation with other stakeholders and case-study analysis. Recommendations made address the multiple issues faced by foreign wives because of matchmaking agencies, immigration policies, employment, healthcare, housing, legal aid, violence and matrimonial proceedings. The Executive Summary of the paper will be made available in the near future.
The Women’s Charter – Provision for Maintanence (2010-2011)
The Women’s Charter first took effect in 1961 with the intent of making monogamy the legal norm for non-Muslim Singaporeans and framing marriage as “the equal cooperative partnership of different kinds of efforts for the mutual well-being of the spouses.” The latest amendments to the Charter were passed in January, 2011, and introduced provisions to facilitate marriages in Singapore, address divorce and its impact, and strengthen the enforcement of maintenance orders.
In late 2010, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) called for public consultation on changes to the Women’s Charter, at which time AWARE suggested a series of amendments. We proposed that a central body be established to collect maintenance on behalf of wives. We also recommended that the Charter be more gender-neutral in order to allow men to claim maintenance from their wives in appropriate circumstances. Accordingly, we suggested the Charter to be renamed the Family Charter.
AWARE is disappointed that these recommendations were not adopted.
Sexual Harassment Survey (2007-2008)
Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as unwanted, unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that often creates a degrading and intimidating work environment. This can include physical, verbal or non-verbal behaviours between colleagues, client and employee, or superiors and subordinates. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex and the harasser may be of either gender. Those that experience sexual harassment often suffer from shame and guilt, which in turn leads to poor work performance or the relinquishment of a job, affecting their professional development and their families’ income.
The survey found that:
- More than 50% of respondents said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment at their workplace
- 1 in 4 knew of people who had experienced some form of sexual harassment
- Of those who experienced sexual harassment, 34% of women respondents and 19.2% of men respondents reported being harassed several times.
With this research as its driving force, the AWARE Training Institute is now developing a series of workshops to offer to corporations to help them prevent and manage sexual harassment in the workplace.