An outstanding women’s rights activist, a renowned family lawyer and a skilled negotiator, Dr. Anamah Tan has 54 years of extensive experience in Family Law practice, as well as advancing the rights and status of women in Singapore, Asia and internationally.
Dr. Tan is a pioneer in Asia’s women’s movement and a tireless advocate for gender issues, particularly, domestic violence and poverty eradication. Backed by her legal expertise in family law – her firm having won the Asian Law Award Singapore 2001 for “Best Family Practice” and the Asian Legal Business “Legal Who’s Who Singapore 2003” for Family Law – she has successfully lobbied for changes in the socio-political and legal frameworks in Singapore to advance the status of women.
Dr. Tan is articulate and resolute in her advocacy for women’s rights. Her pragmatic views and professional approach have enabled Dr. Tan to work well with both government officials and fellow activists. She has been an effective bridge between government and women’s groups, never forgetting her cause while ensuring that the changes she seeks are both substantive and sustainable.
She has been a board member and Vice-President of World YWCA working on issues such as human rights and disarmament. She has also represented Singapore either as head of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) or as an NGO member of official delegations in numerous regional, international and United Nations (UN) conferences on women’s issues and gender mainstreaming, including the 4th Conference on Women in 1995 and the Beijing+5 UN General Assembly Special Session on Women in 2000. Dr. Tan was the Past President of the International Council of Women (ICW), a 100+ year old world body headquartered in Paris. Her term of office was from September 2003-2006. Dr. Tan’s most high-profile role to date has been as Singapore’s representative on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2004-2008). The committee focuses on watching over the progress for women in participating nations.
In Asia, Dr. Tan has served in various leading capacities in major women’s councils and organisations, and on ministerial committees on community and family projects. She was the Past President of the ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organisations (ACWO) from 2000-2002 and the Past President of the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) from 1991-2000. As a respected women’s leader, she has initiated and spearheaded numerous projects that have benefited countless women and their families. She has organised and addressed many noteworthy conferences that have raised awareness of gender issues in Asia.
In Singapore, Dr. Tan was one of the key persons who made representations to the Select Committee, on behalf of the SCWO and the Council of the Law Society, on the amendments to the Women’s Charter in 1996. The Charter is Singapore’s primary family law statute and its own unique legislation to protect the rights of women, especially in marriage and family matters. Dr. Tan worked for the establishment of a Family Court, which has since been set up in Singapore, to help, among other things, dysfunctional families and victims of abuse, who are usually women, to access and obtain legal protection. In 1980, Dr. Tan played an influential role in galvanising the leading women’s associations in Singapore into a unified body under the umbrella of the SCWO. The 100,000-member strong Council has since worked on many women’s projects and causes including developing a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Through her volunteer work she has held myriad roles including past president and member of the ICW, founding member and former president of the SCWO, founder of the Star Shelter for Abused Women, founding member and still an active member of the Singapore Association of Women Lawyers (SAWL), and member of the International Federation of Women Lawyers Executive Council (FIDA). She has been fortunate, she says, to be recognized with several awards including the Public Service Medals.
Dr. Tan’s contributions to public service have been highly commended both by the Singapore Government and private sector. She was awarded a National Medal for Community Work in 1993 (for helping the poor, the underprivileged, and women), (PBM), a National Medal for Public Administration (Bronze) in 1996 (PPA(G)) and a National Medal for Public Service Star in 1998 (BBM). She was also conferred the SCWO Award 2002 for her contributions to the women groups in Singapore and the Leader Mentor Award in 2003 by Research Communication International for her contribution in grooming leaders in the community. Throughout her career, Dr. Tan has combined her significant achievements in the women’s movement with a successful family and matrimonial law practice in Singapore. Dr. Tan is happily married with two children and three grandchildren.
In 2017, Dr. Tan is appointed as an Associate Mediator with Singapore Mediation Centre as well as to the Specialist Family Panel under Law Society Mediation Scheme. She is also an appointed Child Representative with the Family Justice Court of Singapore.
Honours & Awards:
– National Medal for Public Administration (Bronze) [PPA(G)] in 1966.
– Pingat Bintang Masyarakat (PBM) – National Medal for Community work done to help the poor and the underprivileged and women in 1993.
– Justice of the Peace since 1998.
– Bintang Bakti Masyarakat (BBM) – National Medal for Public Service Star in 1998.
– Honorary Ph.D. Business Administration Kennedy Western University in 2000.
– Top Ten Y2000 Civil Marriage Celebrants Awards by the Ministry of Community Development & Sports.
– The Asian Law Awards 2001 for the Best Family Practice.
– SCWO Award 2002 for her contributions to the women groups in Singapore.
– 2003 East Asia Millennium Women Peace Award Humanitarian Services.
– Leader Mentor Award 2003 by Research Communication International in recognition of significant contribution in raising leaders for the community.
– The Singapore Legal Who’s Who Award for the Best Lawyer in Family Law 2003.
– SCWO International Women’s Day Award 2003.
– Asean Confederation of Women’s Organisations’ (ACWO) Award 2004.
– Asean Confederation of Women’s Organisations’ (ACWO) Presidential Award, 20th November 2008 at the Philippine Women’s University.
– International Living Legacy Award 2009 by Women’s International Center (WIC)
– Inducted to the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame on 14 March 2014.
– Women’s Rights Law Firm of the Year in Singapore June 2016 by Global Law Experts.
– Featured in Business Times Salutes Enterprise on 22 July 2016.