A Singaporean Woman’s Rights under the Women’s Charter

Last updated on January 15, 2024

What are the rights of a Singaporean woman under the Women’s Charter?
  1. The wife shall have the right to use her own surname and name separately. (section 51)
  2. The husband and the wife shall have equal rights in the running of the family home. (section 48)
  3. Housekeeping allowance given by the husband to the wife shall be treated as belonging to both parties in equal shares, unless there are exceptional agreements proving otherwise (section 49)
  4. Parents have a duty to maintain their children. (section 68)
  5. Any married woman whose husband fails to provide her reasonable maintenance may apply for her maintenance of either a monthly allowance or a lump sum to the Court. (section 69)
  6. Divorce cannot be filed within 3 years of a marriage and can only be for the sole reason that marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Court would accept the following as grounds for divorce:
    1. One party has committed adultery;
    2. One party has behaved in a way that the other cannot be reasonably expected to continue living with him or her;
    3. One party has deserted the other for at least 2 years;
    4. The parties have separated for at least 3 years, and the defendant consents to divorce
    5. The parties have separated for at least 4 years, and whether the defendant has consented to the divorce is irrelevant
  7. Judicial separation can also be filed, allowing both parties to stop cohabiting, for the above mentioned reasons.
  8. The court can order for the division of matrimonial assets upon divorce.
  9. The court can order a man to pay maintenance to his wife upon divorce, separation or annulment of marriage.
  10. Pimping (living on the earnings of a prostitute), as well as the trafficking of women and girls, are all offences under the Women’s Charter, in addition to other acts. (section 140, 141)


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