From AWARE’s facebook group
Inspired by the 1984 seminar “Women’s Choices, Women’s Lives” where a panel of women spoke to an audience of about fifty people, a few good women got together and started AWARE. Thanks to the solid, consistent pursuit of AWARE’s vision for gender equality and to the unswerving dedication of its members and volunteers, the organisation is recognized as a significant contributor to the Singaporean community on gender issues.
Over the years AWARE has focused on research & advocacy aimed at identifying and researching areas for improvement in gender equality. AWARE has released over twenty research publications, including most recently The Research Study on Workplace Sexual Harassment (2008), United Nations CEDAW Shadow Report (2007), Small Steps, Giant Leaps (2007), Foreign Bride Report: Beyond Happily Ever After (2006), Beyond Borders: Sex with Children (2006), Beyond Babies: National Duty or Personal Choice? (2004), Beyond Youth: Women Growing Older and Poorer (2004), Remaking Singapore: Views of Half the Nation (2002), Rape: Weapon of Terror (2000), as well as the annual Awareness Journal: Collection of Essays, Poetry and Interviews. The AWARE office also features a comprehensive library of resources dealing with women’s issues which is open to members and researchers by appointment.
In addition, AWARE is committed to public education. Through the AWARE Training Institute, campaigns, and seminars and forums, AWARE aims to support women to reach their highest potential. Topics of focus have consisted of body image, gender stereotypes, and violence against women. Recent programmes include Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Financial Intelligence Training, the White Ribbon Campaign, as well as ongoing lectures at educational institutions.
AWARE has also consistently offered direct services to Singaporean women in need, which include the Helpline, Befrienders Programme, Legal Clinic, and Counselling Services. AWARE has helped an average of two-hundred women per month with these services.
AWARE’s valuable work over the past two decades has contributed to the
* 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
* 2006 development of legal reforms that addressed gaps in Singapore’s legislation on trafficking (in collaboration with NUS Pro Bono Law Society)
* 2005 equalisation of benefits in the current medical scheme in the Civil Service for male and female officers
* 2004 constitutional amendment to accord the same citizenship rights to the children of Singaporean women as for Singaporean men
* 2004 government acknowledgement that men and women play equal roles as joint “heads of household”
* 2004 nomination of Braema Mathiaparanam as Nominated Member of Parliament (appointed)
* 2003 policy change lifting the quota restricting female intake in the Medical Faculty at NUS
* 1999 policy to allow women to sponsor their foreign spouses for citizenship or PR status
* 1996 revisions to the Women’s Charter to provide more protection for victims of domestic violence
* 1994 MOE decision to offer “Life Skills for Boys and Girls” instead of the previous arrangement which required girls to take home economics and boys to take technical studies
* 1994 change to the way police handle rape cases as a result of the Rape Study Committee’s “Proposal for standardising and enhancing police procedures in rape management”
* 1989 decision of the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) to develop new guidelines to curb discrimination in advertisements
AWARE has a proven twenty-two year track record as an advocate of women’s rights dedicated to promoting gender equality and inspiring every woman to reach her full potential.