History and Significance
The Women's Charter was passed in 1961 to protect and advance the rights of women and girls in Singapore.
It is an act
“to provide for monogamous marriages and for the solemnatisation and registration of such marriages; to amend and consolidate the law relating to divorce, the rights and duties of married persons, the protection of family, the maintenance of wives and children and the punishment of offences against women and girls; and to provide for matters incidental thereto”.
Thus, it is a statute that brings together the regulation of the relationship between husband and wife and the relationship between parents and their children, termination of marriages and division of matrimonial assets.
The Women’s Charter applies to men and women in Singapore. It does not, however, apply to Muslim divorces, which in Singapore are governed by Muslim law and the Syariah Court
SCWO and the Women’s Charter
In October 2010, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) called for public consultation on changes to the Women’s Charter.
The latest amendments to the Women’s Charter were passed in January 2011. The amended Charter introduces provisions to better prepare at-risk couples for marriage, to mitigate the impact of divorces, and to strengthen the enforcement of maintenance orders.
View the Women's Charter at Singapore Statutes Online.