Association of Women for Action and Research

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Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE)
Founded 25th November 1985
Type Non-profit, Non-governmental organization
Focus gender equality
  • Singapore, Blk 5 Dover Crescent #01-22
Mission 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.

Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) is a non-governmental organization in Singapore concerned with promoting gender equality. The group was officially formed on November 25, 1985. The group currently has approximately 550 members.[1]

AWARE is involved in research and advocacy, education and training, and offers support services for women, which include helplines and legal clinics.[2]


AWARE's current constitution was last amended on the 26th March 2008. This constitution identifies the objectives of AWARE to be:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. to promote the well-being of women by, amongst other things, providing emotional, psychological or legal support
  4. 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.[3]


In 2011, AWARE launched the Sexual Assault Befrienders Service (SABS), the first support service for survivors of sexual assault in Singapore. A helpline and counselling services were set up under this service.[4][5]

AWARE has also embarked on several campaigns, such as the We Can! international movement to end violence against women in 2013.[6] This included an anti-domestic violence campaign video (featuring a roleplay of a physically abusive boyfriend), which drew mixed responses from the public.[7]

The organization is also involved in political issues, such as debates on laws and policies - the most current of which is the call for the Singapore Budget to increase its emphasis on family support and social equality.[8]


In 2009, the group made news when a group of conservative Christian women under the leadership of Josie Lau took over the executive council of the group alleging a pro-gay agenda. The old guard called for a no-confidence vote and the new council was voted out of office on May 2, 2009 after almost 3,000 people had joined the group.[9] Of the 2,175 people who voted at the meeting, 1,414 voted for the no-confidence.[10]


  1. ^ Chew, Cassandra. 2010. Membership of Aware falls to 550; Numbers had surged to 3,000 last year amid controversial takeover," in: Straits Times, June 17.
  2. ^ "About AWARE". AWARE. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "AWARE Constitution". AWARE. 
  4. ^ "Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law, Mr K Shanmugam, at the official launch of AWARE's Sexual Assault Befrienders Service". Ministry of Law, Singapore. 
  5. ^ "9 in 10 sex crimes not reported". AsiaOne News. 
  6. ^ "We Can! Singapore". Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Would Singaporeans intervene in domestic violence, asks Aware". Yahoo!. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "AWARE wants Budget 2013 to focus on reducing social inequality". xinMSN. Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Taken unawares; Singapore's NGO furore," in: The Economist, May 9, 2009
  10. ^ Yong, Debbie. 2009. "Getting to know Aware's new exco; Members talk about EGM, its sex education programme and plans for future over dinner," in: The Straits Times, May 10.

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