In 1978, a group of Women Leaders, led by Ms Caroline Lam of the Business & Professional Women’s Association, mooted the idea of an Umbrella Body to unite the many small women’s organisations.

On 15th November 1978, a meeting of the Pro Tem committee took place, and several names were considered, including “Singapore Women’s Federation” and the Bureau of Women’s Affairs.

On the 30th April 1979, at a meeting called by Mrs S.C. Tang, Executive Director of the Singapore Council of Social Service, the floor nominated a pro tem committee, comprising Mrs Julie Tan (Chairperson), Mrs Caroline Lam (Chairperson), Mrs Anamah Tan, Mrs Seow Peck Leng, Mrs Maureen Tan, Mrs Mary Ho and Mrs Tan Bee Choo’s Representative. The committee drew up the Constitution and sent it to twenty-four women’s organisations and the Registrar of Societies in October 1979. 

The name that the Registrar finally approved was "Singapore Council of Women's Organisations".

The Constitution spells out the role SCWO will play as the national coordinating body for women’s organisations in Singapore. SCWO’s mission is to actively INFORM, ADVOCATE and EDUCATE and work towards advancing women’s status and being the voice for women in Singapore.

On 6th February 1980, the First Executive Board was elected, headed by Ms Julie Tan as the first President of SCWO.

On 1st March 1980, Senior Minister of State for Education and Acting Minister for Social Affairs Dr Ahmad Mattar officiated at the inauguration of SCWO.

Publications, studies, workshops and forums have formed an important part of the SCWO’s activities from the very beginning and continue today.


Learn more about the progress of women in Singapore and the women who made it happen:

SWHF Heritage Walk


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