it all started when…


On 28 June 1974 at the then office of the Law Society of Singapore, situated at the Supreme Court, SAWL’s First General Meeting was held. 17 ladies attended the meeting with Quek Bee See as chairperson. Farideh Namazie was elected President, with Anamah Tan as Vice President. In this half-hour meeting, SAWL inter alia unanimously resolved to be affiliated to the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).

Sub-committees were formed to study the laws relating to divorce, inheritance and women in industry. Another sub-committee spearheading the free legal counselling was also established, with mandate to set up a system by which SAWL could serve women and children of Singapore through legal counselling and consultation at various community centres. After discussions with the People’s Association on SAWL’s initiative were completed and numerous volunteers stepping forward in piloting SAWL’s legal counselling project, SAWL officially launched its Legal Clinic initiative at Kallang and Queenstown Community Centres and it expanded quickly to numerous community centres over the years. Currently, the Legal Clinics have all been consolidated to one place, and SAWL continues to provide free legal counselling and consultation at SCWO.

SAWL’s members have also volunteered by giving public lectures and talks to the public. Raising awareness on legitimacy and adoption, Muslim Law of Marriage, marriage, divorce and maintenance. Talks were even conducted in various languages.

In 1978, SAWL’s other initiative ‘Legal Letter Box’ was launched. Contributing articles to various local dailies like New Nation, Sin Chew Kit Poh, Nanyang Siang Pau and ‘Her World’ magazine.