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The Women’s Charter

Enacted in 1961, the Women’s Charter enshrined the protection of women in Singapore and defined the institution of family by legislating monogamy for civil marriages. It also spells out the provisions relating to:

  • Solemnization of marriages; 
  • Registration and dissolution of civil marriages; 
  • Rights and duties of married persons; 
  • Maintenance of wives and children; 
  • Protection of family; and 
  • Penalties for offences against women and girls.

The Women’s Charter (Amendment) Bill 2016

The Women’s Charter (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament in February 2016. The Charter was reviewed to reflect the changing family trends in Singapore. 

Key amendments to the Women’s Charter (Registration of Marriage) Rules and the Women’s Charter are outlined here. In summary, the amendments to the Women’s Charter are expected to:

  • help support younger couples in their transition into married life and parenthood;
  • better protect the interest of children affected by their parents’ divorce;
  • allow incapacitated husbands and ex-husbands to apply for spousal maintenance where there is a clear need;
  • void marriages of convenience;
  • better support vulnerable persons in family violence and crisis situations; and
  • strengthen law enforcement against online vice.
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