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January 12 , 2010

The Singapore Women's Charter: 50 Questions


Prof Leong Wai Kum not only demystifies the provisions of the Women’s Charter, she also situates the Charter in Singapore’s political context at the time.The author gives a balanced view of the Charter by highlighting the progressive provisions as well as its shortcomings. Outstanding is her personal view that the Charter provides a moral view of marriage as being “an equal cooperative partnership of different efforts”. She also holds the view that the Charter elevates the status of women as it gives equal importance to women’s unpaid work and men’s paid work.The Charter enshrines and elevates the institution of marriage. At the same time it also gives the reader an impression of the state’s approach to familial relationships.This is a must read book for those who are interested in gender issues.Cheng U Wen LenaFounder Member and 1st President of AWAREThe author affirms the primacy of the Women’s Charter as a radically progressive legislation ahead of its time in the ideals that guided the drafters and in regulating family law in Singapore. It provides thoughtful, practical suggestions, invaluable insights, rationalises the provisions of the Charter, comments on its many strengths and some of its shortcomings. Perhaps the most valuable and appealing insight that the author highlights is that the Charter offers a moral message that calls on men and women to treat each other as equal partners, discharge their obligation jointly and generally behave with consideration towards one another. I would encourage all those planning to get married to study The Singapore Women’s Charter: 50 Questions.Constance SingamWriter, Social Activist, Past President of AWAREThe Women’s Charter is arguably one of Singapore’s most important pieces of legislation as it fundamentally altered the social fabric of the country. It also has a very real and direct impact on the lives of many Singaporeans today. This book is therefore to be warmly welcomed as it deals with 50 questions that are commonly asked about the Women’s Charter. Written in a clear, succinct and yet scholarly manner by Singapore’s leading family law academic, the book will be helpful to Singaporeans who either need to understand the Charter better or who have an interest in how the law seeks to regulate the institution of marriage in Singapore.Prof Tan Cheng HanDean of Law Faculty, National University of Singapore This book is a clear and concise guide to how the Women’s Charter protects women and families in Singapore. It looks behind and beyond the word of the law to consider the effect and effectiveness of the statute. Undoubtedly the book is a useful tool for understanding how this legislation helps strengthen and preserve the Singapore family.Laura HwangPresident, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations
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