Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) – What is it and What does it do?


SCWO is the National Coordinating body of women’s organisations in Singapore. It consists of 58 member organisations which represent more than 500,000 women in Singapore.


SCWO seeks to co-ordinate these associations into a national movement and to act on their behalf in matters for which it is authorised by its members.


It seeks to promote the ideals of `Equal Space, Equal Voice and Equal Worth’ for women in Singapore.


SCWO sparked from an idea in 1978 by Ms Caroline Lam who wanted to unite the multiple small women’s organisations into a larger entity. The name of the organisation, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO), was approved in October 1979, after the Constitution was drawn up.


Currently helmed by Ms Malathi Das of the Zonta Club of Singapore, SCWO has had 13 other presidents since its formation in March 1980. SCWO was set up with the mission to inform, advocate and educate and work towards ensuring the advancement of status of women and becoming the voice for all women in Singapore. Concurrently, SCWO also has 8 objectives which is to coordinate, to create, to identify, to foster, to provide, to promote, to serve and to provide. SCWO, having been founded by women, seeks to unite the various women’s organisations, clubs, committees, groups and women leaders together, working in accordance with its various aims and objectives.


Today, SCWO offers 8 different services to the public: 

These clinics are run twice monthly with the help and support from volunteer lawyers from Singapore Association of Women Lawyers (SAWL). They run every 1st & 3rd Monday of the month at the SCWO Centre and are also open to Muslim women seeking assistance on matters with regards to Syariah law. The Muslim Legal Clinic operates on the 3rd Monday of the month. Both legal clinics are open from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and can offer each individual up 20 minutes of assistance.

Previously, only Jamiyah Singapore and some mosques offered legal clinics on Syariah law issues. The Law Society of Singapore’s Muslim Law Practice Committee had come in to assist the SCWO in setting up these legal clinics.

New2U was opened in 2000 with proceeds from sales going to the Star Shelter and other various SCWO initiatives. They are open Monday to Fridays from 10.30am to 2.30pm and you will be able to buy pre-loved clothings, accessories, household items and much more. Should you wish to donate your items, you may drop off these items at the SCWO centre any day of the week with clear indications of “Donation to New2U” on the items.

This central provides advice and assistance with issues regarding payments to court-ordered maintenance and has services which include video-link facilities, counselling and credit bureau reporting. They are open Monday to Fridays, from 9am to 6pm.

The cafe at SCWO is called the Paper Crane Cafe and is open Monday to Saturday, from 11am to 10pm and serves a wide range of food and drinks.

The library was donated by SAWL and acts as a resource centre which specialises in women and family issues in Singapore and the near regions. The extensive collection of resources deal with women’s issues and topics related to women in Singapore.

The Hub started in 2001 and boosts the opportunity for women to take on different courses, which are conducted by volunteers.

The rooms are mainly used for training, meetings and workshops and can be accessed by the public through booking.

The shelter opened in March 1999 with the aim to provide a safe refuge for women and children who wish to seek shelter from family violence. Each victim can only stay for a maximum of 3 months, and there will be provision of meals, lodging, counselling and Case Management. There is also an opportunity for victims to get assistance through a one-time financial aid while setting up their new homes. As the shelter’s address needs to remain confidential in order to protect victims, please contact SCWO directly should you wish to get in contact with Star.

If you are an individual or a group looking to contribute to SCWO, you may do so through donations, volunteering or getting a job there.

If you are a women’s organisation looking to become a member of SCWO, you will be charged an annual fee as well as one-time entry fee. You may become a member either as an ordinary member where your activities and main concern are with and for women, an associate member where mixed organisations have more than 20 women members or women make up at least 25% of the total membership, and lastly, as a junior member where the majority of your members are below 18 years of age.

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