Archive for the ‘Gender Gap’ Category

No women made full minister in GRS govt

Friday, October 9th, 2020

Julita (left) and Flovia during the swearing in ceremony at Istana Negeri, yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government has failed to appoint even a single female full minister in its cabinet.

Two elected assemblywomen Datuk Julita Mojungki (Matunggong) and Flovia Ng (Tulid) were appointed as assistant ministers.

Both of them were placed under the same portfolio, Ministry of Community Development and People’s Well-being.

Former political secretary to Minister of Housing and Local Government Datuk Masidi Manjun – Datuk Amisah Yassin was announced as appointed assemblywoman.

Amisah was absent at the  swearing-in ceremony at Istana Negeri, yesterday.

Julita, who is a two-term assemblywoman for Matunggong was the political secretary to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister from 2008 to 2012.

She was also the political secretary to the Minister in the Prime Minister Department from 2004 to 2008.

In politics, Julita is Matunggong PBS divisional chief since 2018 to present, and also a PBS committee member.

Flovia, who recently won the Tulid state seat under STAR ticket is Sook’s women divisional chief.

Meanwhile, Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO) and Rakyat Is Bos urged Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor to appoint the six women “best losers” in the recent Sabah State Election as the nominated members of the Legislative Assembly of Sabah (DUN).

:The results of the 16th Sabah State Election revealed that only seven women  candidates won in their respective constituency and that makes up less than 10% of the assemblypersons (ADUNs) to be women.

:This percentage is a far cry from reaching at least 30% women participation in decision-making positions as targeted by the Malaysian  government in the Ninth Malaysia Plan 2006-2010.

“There was not even a single woman appointed in the first round of ministerial selection, let alone a woman deputy chief minister,” they said in a statement yesterday.

SAWO and Rakyat Is Bos stressed that gender inclusion is an integral part of Sabah’s  identity as a liberal and inclusive society.

“Sadly, all major coalitions and parties,  Perikatan Nasional (PN), Barisan Nasional (BN), PBS and Warisan Plus had failed to  uphold Sabah’s liberal nature by nominating at least 30% of women candidates.

“As a progressive democratic state, they said the DUN should comprise people from the  marginalised groups to ensure inclusivity in policy and legislative decisions that will  affect the lives of all Sabahans.

After the nomination which saw only 43 women out of 447 candidates, SAWO and  Rakyat Is Bos had made a widely-reported and well-received suggestion on
September 19 for all the six nominated seats to be filled with women if less than 18  women are elected as assemblypersons to close the gap from the international benchmark of 30%.

SAWO and Rakyat is Bos called upon PN, BN, PBS and Warisan Plus to make it a  Sabah cross-party consensus that nominated Seats would be reserved for the best
women candidates who lost if women percentage in the DUN falls below 30%.

They said all six of the best women candidates who lost are  influential women who won more than 30% of the total valid votes cast.

“Appointing them is also empowering voters who trusted these women candidates to represent them and the issues of their community,” they said.

Percentage of votes for the best women candidates who lost in their respective constituencies are as follows:

N.70 Kukusan – Chaya binti Sulaiman 42.38;

N.52 Sungai Sibuga – Armani binti Mahiruddin 41.95;

N.53 Sekong – Hazulizah Mohd Dani 40.24;

N.67 Balung – Andi Rus Diana bt Andi Paladjareng 37.19;

N.04 Tanjung Kapor – Norlizah binti Gurahman 36.85;

N.48 Sugut – Norsabrina binti  Japar 35.52.

SAWO and Rakyat Is Bos also rejected the nomination of individuals who did not  contest in the election.

“As a democratic state, we are repulsed by the nomination of people who are given the seat as a token instead of their true contribution to society  especially individuals from parties that did not even run in the election,” they said.

BY MARIAH DOKSIL.

Read more @ https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/10/09/no-women-made-full-minister-in-grs-govt/

Protect and empower women for the betterment of our country

Wednesday, October 7th, 2020
The public and private sector should help women who lost their jobs to regain their financial footing for a better future. -NSTP/file picThe public and private sector should help women who lost their jobs to regain their financial footing for a better future. -NSTP/file pic

LETTER: While Covid-19 affects all of us regardless of nationality, gender or age, women are adversely affected more in terms of economic, education, health and gender parity than men.

According to research by the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that women make up 70 per cent of all health and social services staff globally.

In April, the Malaysian Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) stated that during the Movement Control Order, they noticed an increase of 14 per cent of reports regarding domestic violence involving women. This data is inconclusive as many women suffer silently since they do not know where to seek help or are too afraid to do so.

Women make up almost half of Malaysia’s population. The problem they face must be considered as a problem faced by all of us. We need to address the issues that are affecting women immediately.

In one of the webinar series hosted by the World Humanitarian Forum titled “Challenging Gender Inequality”, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said this was the right time for everyone to look at women and their development as a solution to improve the livelihoods of all. This includes providing space and growth opportunities for women in the country.

United States of America Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Madam Melanne Verveer agreed with the statement and said women should be given platforms to elevate and empower their country and, in the process, will help themselves as an individual.

As a nation, we also need to understand that economically, women are more vulnerable than men as their personal finances are weaker and their part in the labour market is less secure, thus making it difficult for women, especially single mothers or daughters who have to take care of their ageing parents and/or disabled family members, to bounce back during hard times.

The government needs to look into this matter seriously and act swiftly. Policies or provisions should be made to protect and empower our women so that they can have the opportunity to make a comeback economically and secure their economic standing.

Corporations, companies and employers should also play their part by making sure that our women who lost their jobs will be given the opportunity to work again in all sectors suitable with their skills and qualifications.

Seeking a solution through gender perspectives in turn will secure our nation’s overall economic standing, as it can contribute to nation building and enhance Malaysia’s gross development product with the mass involvement of women in all sectors of development.

A caring society should always be aware and respond to the plight of women, whether it is regarding their financial issues or safety. Everyone must be ready to lend a hand to women in their time of need. Only then can we truly develop an advanced and caring society where men and women are able to embrace the shared prosperity vision that is the agenda of our country.

by AHMAD SOFFIAN MOHD SHARIFF.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/10/630180/protect-and-empower-women-betterment-our-country

Domestic violence: Safe Community Initiative launched in Kajang

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
Selangor Health, Welfare, Women Empowerment and Family executive councillor Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (third from left) said the public and various agencies must play their roles to address the problem of domestic violence. -  NSTP/KHAIRUL AZHAR AHMAD.Selangor Health, Welfare, Women Empowerment and Family executive councillor Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (third from left) said the public and various agencies must play their roles to address the problem of domestic violence. – NSTP/KHAIRUL AZHAR AHMAD.

KAJANG: The Integrated Safe Community Initiative, a project spearheaded by the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), has added Kajang to its list of districts to tackle the problem of domestic violence.

The initiative, launched in Oct 2019, had previously covered four districts, namely Kuala Selangor, Klang, Hulu Selangor and Petaling.

The project, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Malaysia, aims to create an integrated approach involving various agencies towards building safe communities that are free from gender-based violence.

The efforts include establishing One Stop Crisis Centres (OSCC), handled by various agencies, to help survivors of domestic and child abuse.

WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said more than 800,000 women who are with their partners in Malaysia have or are currently experiencing domestic violence.

She said the number of police reports on gender-based violence such as abuse, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and more have reached worrying rates.

“During the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, WAO recorded a 138 per cent increase in calls to its hotline.

“Because of this, there is a need to protect women and children from becoming victims of violence. WAO is aware of this situation and will take proactive measures to tackle this problem,” she said at the launch today.

Meanwhile, Selangor Health, Welfare, Women Empowerment and Family executive councillor Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, who launched the event, said the public and various agencies must play their roles to address the problem of domestic violence.

She said WAO’s and Institut Wanita Berdaya’s (IWB) Aug 2019 research showed that there is a lack of suitable shelters provided for survivors of domestic abuse in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

“On Nov 21, 2019, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) said Selangor has the highest reported cases of domestic violence nationwide.

“Selangor comprised 27 per cent of the overall domestic violence cases reported to the Social Welfare Department from January until June 2019.

“The main focus of the state government is to ensure the safety and needs of women and children in all districts,” she said.

By Safwah Abdul Razak.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/09/628289/domestic-violence-safe-community-initiative-launched-kajang

Helping women entrepreneurs get onto the digital platform

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020
NAWEM president Sarojini Ruth (left) and Saito deputy vice-chancellor Professor Dr Vinitha Guptan (right) signing a memorandum of understanding, witnessed by HRDF R&D head Rony Ambrose Gobilee recently. -- Pix courtesy of NAWEMNAWEM president Sarojini Ruth (left) and Saito deputy vice-chancellor Professor Dr Vinitha Guptan (right) signing a memorandum of understanding, witnessed by HRDF R&D head Rony Ambrose Gobilee recently. — Pix courtesy of NAWEM

PETALING JAYA: With the Covid-10 pandemic affecting businesses, the National Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Malaysia (NAWEM) hopes to help women get onto the digital platform through Tech4her.

NAWEM president Sarojini Ruth said the pandemic has brought the digital platform to the forefront as many felt more at ease shopping from home.

“Through the Tech4her programme, we aim to empower women. Apart from using technology, we will also impart expertise and knowledge to this group,” she said.

Besides providing selected women entrepreneurs with coaching and mentoring guidance, the programme will also emphasise the need to collaborate, network and create links with each other as well other entities such as government agencies, crowd funders, business groups and NGOs.

Tech4Her@NAWEM is implemented by NAWEM in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the Saito University College.

Saito deputy vice-chancellor Professor Dr Vinitha Guptan said the entrepreneurs would have to undergo a 10-month course, supervised and monitored by the university college’s experts.

Among the entrepreneurs are the owners of a spa centre, health centre, pharmacists and food operators.

Amber Chia joins Commonwealth campaign rejecting domestic, sexual violence

Monday, September 14th, 2020
Malaysian model, Amber China, has joined leaders and celebrities from across the Commonwealth for the first-of-its-kind 'Commonwealth Says NO MORE' campaign against domestic and sexual violence. - NSTP/MUSTAFFA KAMALMalaysian model, Amber Chia, has joined leaders and celebrities from across the Commonwealth for the first-of-its-kind ‘Commonwealth Says NO MORE’ campaign against domestic and sexual violence. – NSTP/MUSTAFFA KAMAL

LETTER: Malaysian model, Amber China, has joined leaders and celebrities from across the Commonwealth for the first-of-its-kind ‘Commonwealth Says NO MORE’ campaign against domestic and sexual violence.

Amber said: “Violence against women and girls is a pandemic that destroys lives, economies and communities. For too long our society has not done nearly enough. And today I’m here to say no more excuses. Please join me in taking the pledge through the Commonwealth Says No More campaign.”

The Commonwealth Secretariat and NO MORE Foundation launched the campaign designed to help tackle the immediate crisis of the rapid increase in domestic and sexual violence due to the impacts of Covid-19, while also providing support for governments, organisations and individuals to confront this issue through longer-term prevention strategies and support.

The launch was held at a special virtual event attended by representatives and advocates from across the Commonwealth and representing nearly one-third of the world’s population.

At the event, the partners unveiled the first pan-Commonwealth digital portal designed to support governments and civil society in identifying and implementing joint solutions while also providing individuals with concrete actions they can take to support both the campaign and those affected by domestic violence.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, speaking at the launch of the portal, said: “It is indisputable that while the virus will pass one day, for many women, the ever-present threat of violence will remain.

The new ‘Commonwealth Says NO MORE’ campaign is launched at a time when organisations across the globe have seen calls to hotlines for victims of abuse and demand for support services rise from between 25 and 300 per cent during COVID-19 lockdowns. Even before the pandemic, one in three women across the world are beaten or sexually abused within their lifetime, making it a leading cause of death in woman and girls.

The digital portal provides easy-to-use tools and resources to help governments and community-based organisations strengthen their efforts to support victims of domestic and sexual violence and those at risk, and train communities in a culturally sensitive manner.

In addition, it also provides help to those affected by violence to understand and recognise violence and gives them one-stop access to information such as local hotlines, safety plans and legal guidance – a critical service for victims in places where such support is either not available online or is disrupted by the pandemic.

The portal will also feature guidelines to help citizens intervene when they witness violence, and offers good practice guides for preventing abuse, delivering services and protecting survivors.

As part of the initiative, leaders, celebrities and individuals globally are taking the ‘Commonwealth Says NO MORE’ pledge towards ending domestic and sexual violence. Ahead of the launch, many shared video messages endorsing the effort and encouraging other people across the 54 Commonwealth countries to get involved.

Among them are Kiribati President Taneti Maamau; Antigua and Barbuda’s Governor-General, Sir Rodney Williams; New Zealand’s former Prime Minister, Helen Clark; British singer and Royal Commonwealth Society’s Ambassador, Geri Horner; UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed; Indian actress and advocate for women’s rights, Shabana Azmi; Pakistani actress, Mahira Khan; Ghanaian actress, Joselyn Dumas; British actor, Colin Salmon and Australia actor, Ryan Johnson.

by COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/09/624336/amber-chia-joins-commonwealth-campaign-rejecting-domestic-sexual

Legal avenues for sexual harassment victims

Tuesday, July 21st, 2020
A threat to cause harm to the victim can be considered a tort of assault, so long as the threat of harm is imminent, such as the words or gestures of a sexual nature without bodily contact. NSTP File picA threat to cause harm to the victim can be considered a tort of assault, so long as the threat of harm is imminent, such as the words or gestures of a sexual nature without bodily contact. NSTP File pic

Letters: Sexual harassment is a serious offence as it violates a person’s honour and dignity guaranteed by Article 5 of the Federal Constitution.

The workplace should be free from sexual harassment, such as degrading words or pictures (like graffiti, photos or posters), physical contact of any kind and sexual demands.

Victims of sexual harassment may file a tort suit against the harasser in the civil court for assault and battery. If the victim was threatened with physical sexual abuse or has been assaulted, an assault claim could be maintained.

A threat to cause harm to the victim can be considered a tort of assault, so long as the threat of harm is imminent, such as the words or gestures of a sexual nature without bodily contact.

Sexual battery claim may be valid if it involves physical touching or intentional infliction of unlawful force on another person.

The outrageous conduct of the perpetrator may also entail a claim for mental distress damages.

The victim may consider filing a vicarious liability suit against the employer or the government for the sexual harassment committed by a co-worker or their customers provided that the sexual harassment was committed within the course of employment.

Litigation against the employer is founded on the basis of failure to use reasonable care to protect its workers against foreseeable sexual assault.

To successfully maintain a vicarious liability claim, for example, against the employer, the victim must prove that there was an employee and employer relationship between the parties and that the act was done in the course of employment.

For sexual harassment to be considered committed in the course of employment, it must either be authorised or be so connected with an authorised act that it can be considered a mode, though an improper way, of performing the said act.

Where the claim is well-founded, the court may award damages for the physical and emotional harm suffered by the victim.

The above civil claims are in the alternative to other available remedies to the victim, such as lodging a police report pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Code for various sexual offences under the Penal Code, as well as resigning from employment and thereafter alleging constructive dismissal.

by Dr Ashgar Ali Ali Mohamed.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/07/610188/legal-avenues-sexual-harassment-victims

Nation of Women launches JB wing

Sunday, July 12th, 2020
Members of Now Malaysia at the official launch in JohorMembers of Now Malaysia at the official launch in Johor

JOHOR BARU: Nation of Women (Now) Malaysia recently launched its Johor wing after completing a tour of northern Peninsular Malaysia.

Now Malaysia was set up to empower local women to become independent, entrepreneurial and self-sustaining, especially during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

“This is a new organisation, but has received membership of more than 30,000 women within a few months,” said Now Malaysia president Hajah Haniza Talha at the launch event.

“With a composition of professionals and women from other walks of life, Now is open to all races to assist Malaysian women to excel and prosper. We hope more will join us”, she added.

Now Malaysia will meet its members in Melaka and Negri Sembilan next, followed by visits to the east coast.

“I strongly believe that Now has the right formula and is timely to assist women to face issues, minimise hardship, and handle difficulties effectively with the support as well as guidance of fellow members,” said Pagoh Now chief Suhaila Hashim.

Haniza (right) and Suhaila all smiles after the launch in Johor

Haniza (right) and Suhaila all smiles after the launch in Johor

Now also presented aid to 10 needy recipients during the event, which was also attended by Batu Pahat Member of Parliament Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who is also Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker.

By Zainal Aziz.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/07/607949/nation-women-launches-jb-wing

The need for gender-inclusive policies in a post-pandemic world

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

The government needs to take a step further and act upon the gender difference it has recognised by crafting new policies that introduce fundamental changes to how a woman’s work is valued and compensated. -Pic for illustrations purposes only

The government needs to take a step further and act upon the gender difference it has recognised by crafting new policies that introduce fundamental changes to how a woman’s work is valued and compensated. -Pic for illustrations purposes only

AS the world shut its borders to control the spread of Covid-19, concerns for women were raised.

That concern comes as the uneven scales of gender equality tipped further during the pandemic to reveal a major disparity in how women experienced Covid-19 differently.

Among other things, women’s responsibilities have extended beyond the stereotypical cooking and cleaning.

They now include tutoring, as children attend online classes at home following the closing of schools.

As the country enters the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) and society adapts to the “new normal”, it is important that the nation’s road to recovery is seen as an opportunity to introduce more gender-inclusive policies in the country to ensure a step in the right direction to achieve a gender balance.

Recently, the government released the Penjana economic stimulus package.

This package has taken a step in the right direction by introducing measures that support women’s empowerment.

One of the incentives introduced included social assistance in the form of a one-off financial aid to vulnerable people, of which also covered single mothers.

Female entrepreneurs are also supported through the economic stimulus package, with RM50 million allocated for them.

This is in contrast to the previous economic stimulus package introduced earlier in the Movement Control Order (MCO), which faced criticism for not being gender sensitive enough, as the financial assistance given could not easily reach women who have been abused.

There are a few key steps Malaysia must take.

Firstly, the Malaysian government needs to take a stance on gender-related issues that will stand the test of time.

At the core of the issue is to ensure that policies sufficiently support and empower women at all levels.

Key to this is to fulfil international obligations and deadlines, such as the timely submission of Periodic Reports to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Unfortunately, Malaysia’s past history of submission has not been impressive and leaves much room for improvement.

Secondly, gender mainstreaming needs to translate into policies.

The current government is not short of recognising gender thus far.

The illustration of “Mak Cik Kiah” in the implementation of the initial Prihatin Rakyat economic stimulus package is evident of the recognition of women’s contribution to a household and the roles they play.

However, the government needs to take a step further and act upon the gender difference it has recognised by crafting new policies that introduce fundamental changes to how a woman’s work is valued and compensated.

An example and an aim the government can emulate is the Hawaiian State Commission on Status of Women.

It is a feminist government agency that works towards achieving equality for women and girls in the state.

The policies proposed centre on how the government can introduce measures that target the Hawaiian women’s recovery.

They do this by restructuring the focus away from military and tourism, and into PPE manufacturing, for instance.

It is important to note and realise the advocacy of gender equality is a global struggle that even Western countries face and struggle with.

As such, it is essential that the relevant authorities and key stakeholders find space to hold and meaningfully engage in the discussions and dialogue in order to best understand how Malaysia can progress in implementing a gendered lens in policymaking.

Malaysia has managed to show its capabilities and potential through the measures introduced in managing the first wave of contagion.

There is no reason why it cannot continue to show its potential in achieving gender equality through the remainder of Malaysia’s Covid-19 recovery period, and beyond, too.

By Tengku Nur Qistina Petri.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/07/605777/need-gender-inclusive-policies-post-pandemic-world

Bill must protect women’s employment, safety and health

Thursday, May 28th, 2020
Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) lauds this timely short-term measure, and cautions the government to also apply a gender-responsive lens to any relief policies. -Pic for illustrations purposes only Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) lauds this timely short-term measure, and cautions the government to also apply a gender-responsive lens to any relief policies. -Pic for illustrations purposes only

LETTER: Recently, the government announced the tabling of a RUU Pelaksanaan Langkah Sementara (Covid-19 Temporary Measures Bill) in the July parliamentary seating. The Bill sets out to provide economic, social and welfare relief to industries, sectors and people hard hit by Covid-19. It will also outline interim measures to protect the country’s population from the pandemic.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) lauds this timely short-term measure, and cautions the government to also apply a gender-responsive lens to any relief policies. The Covid-19 pandemic has eroded gender equality progress in Malaysia, and the bill must address this. The setbacks for women in Malaysia are most pronounced in the three areas – employment, safety and health.

First, the rise of unpaid care burden during the pandemic, due to the disruption of care services and facilities, has fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of women. Most alarmingly, in the first quarter labour force statistics released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia recently, saw the fastest rate of increase in working-age adults dropping out of the labour force.

The majority cite ‘family needs’ as the primary reason for dropping out. If left unattended, this will reduce the already low labour force participation rates of women in Malaysia, who have traditionally borne the most unpaid care responsibilities. Second, the pandemic has also led to the rise in gender-based violence, especially incidence of domestic violence. Survivors trapped in the same households also face the disruption of law enforcement services that usually protect their safety.

Finally, women’s health, including access to sexual and reproductive health have been marginalised by health authorities who deemed such services secondary. During the MCO, all LPPKN clinics were shuttered, preventing subsidised access to family planning and reproductive health services for large swaths of women and girls.

We urge the government to adopt the following five considerations to prevent the further slide in women’s rights and welfare.

1. The temporary bill must mandate that judicial and legal services, as well as other applicable services designated as essential, must be made available online if lockdown measures were implemented again. During the peak of the pandemic, despite the rise in domestic violence and the critical need for protection on the part of survivors, there has been a lack of clarity around the ability of domestic violence survivors to obtain protection orders during the MCO period. We must be better prepared to protect women’s and girls’ safety in subsequent waves of infection and lockdown periods by ensuring the continued access to judicial services and critical protection mechanisms

2. Currently, other services that are crucial to protecting working parents’ employment, as well as women’s health and safety have not been formally designated as “essential services” during the MCO period and thus have faced barriers to operating or been completely suspended. This gender-bias must be corrected by explicitly listing such services as essential: (a) family-friendly facilities such as childcare centres, (b) the Industrial Court Malaysia for employees facing unlawful termination, (c) crisis support services for gender-based violence survivors such as hotlines and temporary shelters and (d) secondary healthcare facilities such as the LPPKN-run clinics.

3. Many critical government functions, including first responders to gender-based violence cases, have been inundated during the pandemic. The relief bill must provide an additional budget for auxiliary and temporary staff to rapidly expand the public sector workforce so that critical government services, including Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) domestic violence shelters and the processing and issuance of protection orders for domestic violence survivors, can continue to operate smoothly.

4. The temporary bill must work towards strengthening safeguards for the employment of unpaid caregivers, who face the double burden of paid work and unpaid care. To reduce this burden, the bill must enshrine the right to flexible working arrangements for all non-essential employees during the pandemic, enforceable through the Industrial Court if an employer does not deal with the request in a reasonable manner.

5. During the MCO, restrictions orders allowing only the lone movement of individuals have disproportionately penalised those with different household configurations, including single parents with multiple children or adult children with multiple dependent parents. Any new interim movement restrictions in the future must be attentive to the needs of different people.

The pandemic has disproportionately affected the employment, health and safety of women in Malaysia. Only a gender-sensitive lens in our Covid-19 policies will ensure that our recovery is inclusive, broad-based and attentive to the needs of different segments of society.

by WOMEN’S AID ORGANISATION (WAO).

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2020/05/596016/bill-must-protect-womens-employment-safety-and-health

The fight for gender equality must go on

Monday, March 9th, 2020

MARCH was supposed to be a month of promise for women. The proposed Sexual Harassment Bill (which rights activists have been working towards for two decades) was expected to be tabled at the next parliamentary meeting (which would have been tomorrow), which is the start of the new Parliamentary session.

The proposed Gender Equality Bill (in the works for the past decade) was also scheduled to be tabled in Parliament.

And so was the proposed Anti-Stalking Bill and amendments to the Employment Act that mandate seven days of paternity leave for all fathers.

But now, with a new prime minister in office and an empty Cabinet as yet, it is uncertain if these new laws will see the light of day anytime soon or at all.

Will gender rights or the protection of women be a priority for the new Government?

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD) – a day when the world unites in recognising the achievements of women while pushing for greater equality.

What timing.

So, push we must, both individually and collectively.

This year’s IWD theme is Each for Equal.

The demand for equality is simply asking that every single human being be treated the same way and given the same opportunities.

An equal world is simply a world where every person, regardless of their gender, is able to participate in any sport or pursue any career of their choice.

It’s really quite a basic principal of fairness but strangely enough, it’s something that women and other vulnerable groups in society have had to fight for for decades.

Each for Equal dismantles the notion that the fight for equality be relegated to women alone.

Instead it advocates that everyone play their part in calling for change.

While civil society groups lobby the government for laws that eliminate gender bias and protect women and girls, let us all (men and women) do our part in making our communities better.

Each for Equal calls for each of us to examine our personal biases and assumptions about girls and women, and their abilities and rights.

A recent survey by market research company Ipsos revealed that only 17% of Malaysians think that men and women are equal.

This means that a whopping 83% of us know that gender bias exists.

What must we do?

We must speak up. It is easier to stay silent but silence doesn’t bring change.

If 83% of Malaysians demand that women and girls be treated as equals, chances are, we will see change.

So what must we do?

When we see bias in the workplace, speak up.

When you recognise bias in your assumptions and attitude, shut it down.

When we see a woman being silenced, speak up.

When we see a woman being abused or harassed, speak up.

When we see a girl being sidelined, speak up.

When we catch ourselves perpetuating gender stereotypes – girls can’t lift weights/boys don’t cry – stop ourselves.

The fight for gender equality is not a zero-sum game: no one loses when girls and women are empowered or better protected.

Let our voices be heard and let’s make our voices count where it matters the most: in creating a more just and equitable Malaysia.

Happy International Women’s Day.

by By The Star Says.

Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/opinion/columnists/the-star-says/2020/03/08/the-fight-for-gender-equality-must-go-on