Archive for the ‘Gender Gap’ Category

Women to be given equal chance to excel – minister

Friday, September 7th, 2018

Stephen (fifth from right), Jannie (fourth from right) and Dr Tarsiah (sixth from right) flanked by the speakers and presenters at the Conference on Gender Inclusiveness and Equality.

KOTA KINABALU: Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wong has promised the highest commitment to address the gender inclusiveness and equality issues in the State.

“I believe gender perspectives have to be adopted in all development agendas,” he said at the closing ceremony of the Conference on Gender Inclusiveness and Equality held yesterday.

He assured that he would bring matters related to women in decision making to the higher level meeting of the State.

It was learnt that the Sabah government only had 10.6 percent women holding decision making positions last year.

The media was also informed that only five to six women held important decision making posts at government-linked organisations in Sabah.

According to Stephen, women should be given equal chance to excel.

Meanwhile, Assistant Law and Natives Affairs Minister Jannie Lasimbang said that it was now time to allow women to hold the position of ketua kampung or village head in Sabah.

She explained that the appointment of the respective village heads was under the prerogative of the state assemblymen/women.

She added that the position was traditionally given to men.

Sabah Women Advisory council chairperson Datuk Dr Tarsiah Taman said that the council hoped there would be a marked improvement in the near future for more women to hold decision making roles.

Dr Tarsiah also said that the council had developed an interactive module to address the increasing rate of young marriages (18 years old and below).

She cited that this was a first in Malaysia and with the collaboration of the Sabah Education Department, the council had conducted the training of trainers for 300 school counselors for schools within the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu.

“In the next few months, we will be conducting an awareness and advocacy programmes among parents and community leaders in addressing these young marriages,” she said.

She said that the council was also preparing an index on the wellbeing of women in Sabah, which is also a first in the country.

by Jenne Lajiun.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2018/09/07/women-to-be-given-equal-chance-to-excel-minister/

Councils which do not have 30 pct women councillors could have allocations reviewed

Friday, August 24th, 2018
Housing and Local Government Minister, Zuraida Kamaruddin, said this will be a new condition in the Local Councils Grading System, which is being fine-tuned and will be implemented in the next two years. BERNAMA photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The Housing and Local Government Ministry will review the allocations for local councils which fail to have 30 per cent female representation among its councillors.

Housing and Local Government Minister, Zuraida Kamaruddin, said this will be a new condition in the Local Councils Grading System, which is being fine-tuned and will be implemented in the next two years.

“This is still at the discussion stage to ensure that all local councils have a 30 per cent female composition from its 24 councillors. Once this is implemented, if the councils fail to meet the requirement, the ministry will review their allocations.

“I will further fine tune the conditions for all the local councils,” she told reporters after attending a Women’s Day 2018 event at the Dewan Perdana Felda here on Friday.

Zuraidah, who is also Ampang member of parliament, said the requirement applies to all local councils nationwide, including those under opposition rule.

She said that for now, women in local councils nationwide only make up an average of 14 per cent.

By Bernama.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2018/08/404554/councils-which-do-not-have-30-pct-women-councillors-could-have

Gender equality may not be the way forward

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018
We should perhaps explore more flexibility in how we employ women in the knowledge workforce in sectors such as academia as well as research and development fields.

FOR the past year, news of rampant sexual harassment from the hills of Hollywood and the start-ups of Silicon Valley to the halls of academia have been making their rounds in the headlines. Although in some cases, the targets of the harassments were men, the majority were women.

It seems that even the most prestigious of institutions have been affected. In fact, this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature has also been cancelled because of a sexual harassment and abuse scandal. Unfortunately, such incidents also occur in Malaysia as evident in some recent headlines. It is tragic that those in respected positions have abused their influence to adversely affect the careers of their subordinates when their role should have been as a mentor and not a predator. However, my intention is not to discuss such a bleak topic. What I would like to do is to focus on something that I hope is a cause for celebration; a lining of silver for the dark clouds that have gathered, perhaps a sign of better days to come.

The rampant global sexual harassment in various sectors makes it clear that despite being important members of the workforce, women are still regarded as perhaps being out of place when in the work environment. In science and academia, the first female winner of the Nobel Prize was Marie Curie – who was awarded the honour in 1903, when the prize was only in its third edition. Marie’s daughter, Irene Joliot-Curie, was also awarded a Nobel in 1935 thus making them the only mother-daughter pair to have done so.

With the capability of women in western science, one would have thought that they would be seen by their male peers as equals. Unfortunately, this is not always so. Many western institutions are still perceived to practise discrimination when it comes to salaries and leadership opportunities involving female academics.

I used the word “perceived” not because I am ignoring that the problem exists, but because of the results reported by several studies in the United States. These studies have found that female scientists publish less in the top journals and are able to secure less top research funding and for these reasons, many of the institutions rationalise that they are therefore ranked lower in terms of merit and thus command lower salaries and leadership opportunities.

However, none of these studies were able to determine why the merit and productivity of women academics are lower than those of their male colleagues. These studies do point out that there may be an element of unintentional gender discrimination at play as well; biases that are unconscious on the part of those committing them. Nevertheless, gender-based discrimination against female researchers does appear to exist.

Throughout the world, female researchers are under-represented. However, the situation in Malaysia is quite different where almost half of all the researchers are female. The United Nations has acknowledged Malaysia to be a world leader in encouraging girls and women to participate in science. The percentage of Malaysian female researchers is higher than that of Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, United Kingdom and Japan.

In general, most Malaysian researchers are from the government sector while many research institutions in the developed countries are privately run and at times operate independently from a centralised civil service system. To my knowledge, the Malaysian civil service in general does not practise salary discrimination nor does it implement a policy of opportunity discrimination save for a few select posts such as specific units in the military and perhaps posts such as the imams of mosques.

Most Malaysian researchers are in the civil service, so the gender pay gap does not exist. So although we are doing something right, we need to improve existing practices. This is perhaps where we must tread carefully. I do not believe that merely calling for gender equality is the solution to the problem. Men and women are clearly different and by calling for equality, we are not appreciating the facts of their different roles in society.

Men do not take maternity leave. However, gender equality implies that they should also be given at least equality in terms of paternity leave. Do men make better employees because they do not take months of paternity leave such as their female colleagues? Definitely not. But if policies and laws are in place to allow for very long paid maternity leaves, employers may unintentionally discriminate against women candidates simply because not all employers will be able to afford such an expense.

Being able to afford is not necessarily only a context in the monetary sense. For example, several posts may be crucial that there must be redundancy in case of leave. If one post in a redundant pairing is already held by a female employee of child-bearing age, then the employer may intentionally discriminate against a female candidate of similar age by giving the vacant post to a possibly less qualified male candidate.

Many female employees are mothers and wives for whom every day is an incredible juggling act to provide not only the best to their employers, but also to give the best attention, care and love to their families. At times, the policies in place do not allow for a suitable balance thus forcing a choice between work and the family. I suspect in such a situation, many will choose the family over work.

The issues to contend with are clearly deeper than just gender equality. The current government is on the right track in trying to provide childcare facilities in government departments. But we must go beyond that. Mothers should be allowed extended maternity leave if desired to bond with their newborns. In such cases, how can employers retain them as contributing members of their respective organisations?

At a time when the country requires all its professional and knowledge workers in the drive towards developed nation status, we definitely cannot afford the losses when these human capital decide to resign to become full-time mothers. We should perhaps explore more flexibility in how we employ women in the knowledge workforce in sectors such as academia as well as research and development (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields.

For example, civil service salaries and employment contracts can perhaps be negotiated based on hours worked, not necessarily the standard five days or nine to five work-day. Other ways of financial compensation to consider are project- or milestone-based achievements. Extended maternity leave can perhaps be supplemented by work from home input. Return-to-work schemes should also be introduced for mothers who had opted for extended maternity and childcare leave. Obviously there are multiple factors that can even vary between individuals and therefore should not be generalised.

By MOHD FIRDAUS RAIH.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/education/2018/08/403985/gender-equality-may-not-be-way-forward

Parliamentary committee on gender equality boosts reform efforts

Monday, August 20th, 2018
THE formation of a parliamentary select committee is a promising move to reform Parliament. As you decide what parliamentary select committees (PSCs) to form, we urge you to establish a PSC on gender equality. (File pix)

THE formation of a parliamentary select committee is a promising move to reform Parliament.

As you decide what parliamentary select committees (PSCs) to form, we urge you to establish a PSC on gender equality.

The Pakatan Harapan manifesto includes a commitment to ensure “the legal system protects women’s rights and dignity”, including to “review all laws relating to gender equality to ensure that every woman enjoys legal equality”.

Achieving this requires a review and reform of the legal system, which the PSC on gender equality would facilitate.

Forming a PSC would demonstrate Parliament’s commitment to gender equality, especially after the failure of government to fulfil its commitment to 30 per cent women representation, in cabinet and state assemblies, except eventually Selangor.

The Manifesto Wanita, a civil society 14th General Election initiative, also demanded a PSC on gender equality.

This manifesto was endorsed by 47 civil society organisations and 18 political candidates or politicians.

The manifesto includes a promise to “make our human rights record respected by the world”.

The previous government did not fare well in its review by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) earlier this year

To improve, Cedaw informed the government about the “crucial role of the legislative power in ensuring the full implementation of the Convention (Cedaw)”, and urged Parliament to “take the necessary steps” to implement the observations.

Forming a PSC on gender equality would demonstrate the new government is making efforts to meet Cedaw’s recommendations.

Many other jurisdictions have parliamentary committees on gender equality and women’s rights.

In the United Kingdom, the PSC for Women and Equalities examines legislation, policy, and expenditure of the government in relation to gender equality issues.

The select committee can call upon experts and hold public conferences when investigating and auditing the government’s performance on these issues.

Other examples of parliamentary committees on gender include the Committee on the Empowerment of Women (India), the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women (Cyprus), the Gender Equality Committee (Croatia), the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (European Parliament), Senate Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (Belgium), and the Equity and Gender Committee (Mexico).

By OPEN LETTER

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/08/401887/parliamentary-committee-gender-equality-boosts-reform-efforts

More need to be done to address women’s and children’s rights in Malaysia

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Vicki Treadell

THERE is much to be done in addressing the rights of women and children in Malaysia, especially where cultural issues and social dynamics are concerned.

Education plays a key role in recognising those rights, not only through formal schooling but also by approaching communities at the grassroots.

Shying away from the sensitivities of cultural norms would only result in the issue never being gripped, said British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vicki Treadell.

“Historically, perhaps we were less enlightened and perhaps we didn’t understand these issues in the way we do now.

“But in a modern age, whilst the world progresses and we understand the consequences of the impact physically on a child, who can be damaged and have problems health-wise for the rest of their lives, how could we condone it?

“However, these things can’t be rushed – you have to carry communities with you. In a way, one of our foreign policy priorities is to work on gender equality and women’s and children’s rights. That’s why it’s so important for us to understand how we deliver that aspect of our work in the environment that we can see,” she said.

Speaking of a recent visit with the Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (SAWO), Treadell acknowledged the practices of more remote communities that make it a challenge to advocate for issues such as child marriage.

There is still a challenge on women’s rights and having them understood, she said, and the difficulty of having them recognised as what they are.

“These things begin with education and you have to look at a generational change and a shift. How do you begin that? One of the things we discussed was the access to education, which I know is a big challenge in remoter rural communities.

“However, we also talked about education in a much broader sense – raising awareness of these issues and what is correct and incorrect behaviour and changing those cultural norms,” said Treadell.

A bolder move would be to push for a gender equality act, which she opined the new government should push through to empower more women.

Women’s rights should not be politicised because women are fundamentally 50 per cent of the global population and 50 per cent of the human capital, but Treadell maintained that legislation would greatly level the playing field.

“The economic and political empowerment to women is transformational for societies and legislation helps drive the right behaviour and recognition of the equal rights of the women in our communities.

“For a country to realise its potential, it’s women who must realise their potential. Their women must have respect in society,” she added.

On the broader aspect of education, Treadell said the British High Commission was giving a particular emphasis on technical and vocational skills this year to recognise that on-the-job training could be equally beneficial to a university degree, especially when entering the workforce.

This would also be a cultural challenge for Malaysia, she said, as it should be acknowledged that not every child needs to or should go to university.

“Equipping children and youths with work experience, apprenticeships, technical and vocational training, is a wonderful route into a professional career.

“We have worked with the previous government on this and we are reengaging with the new government on Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET).

“We’re trying to help inform the work they will produce and the recommendations, and we stand ready with our different academic institutions and credited qualification bodies, to work with the Malaysian government to roll an even more enhanced TVET programme out across Malaysia,” she said.

Treadell added that she had spoken to British companies in Malaysia that provided apprenticeships on how they might work with the government and build a relationship to offer on-the-job training, expressing confidence that other companies, whether foreign or local, would increasingly begin to do so.

The British High Commission is ready to share experiences in the UK, she said, where apprenticeship programmes have been a phenomenal success.

“It now transcends more traditional methods where apprenticeships were previously done in manufacturing companies.

“Now, they can be done in professional services, banks and insurance companies, to name a few. There are now different routes into these professional careers.

“Everyone is an individual, so how best will they learn? A degree may be the route, but not necessarily always. Working in an office, doing an apprenticeship and acquiring the knowledge as you work is another wonderful way to develop skills and competences,” she said.

Another issue which requires a change in mindset and cultural behaviour is illegal wildlife trade, which Treadell noted with concern did not seem to be decreasing.

Addressing it with consumers and customers of these products to change their attitude and opinion is a priority, in addition to law enforcement.

“I think there is more consciousness in the younger generation. People under 30 are far more concerned about this and changing behaviour and practice.

“Another way is to outlaw it. Once there is a law, if there are still people who participate in it, they can be penalised.

“You have to work on attitude and culture, but laws are also important, because then it gives you the rule of law in due process.

by Fiqah Roslan.

Read more @ http://www.theborneopost.com/2018/08/19/more-need-to-be-done-to-address-womens-and-childrens-rights-in-malaysia/

Parliamentary committee on gender equality boosts reform efforts

Thursday, August 16th, 2018
THE formation of a parliamentary select committee is a promising move to reform Parliament. As you decide what parliamentary select committees (PSCs) to form, we urge you to establish a PSC on gender equality. (File pix)

THE formation of a parliamentary select committee is a promising move to reform Parliament.

As you decide what parliamentary select committees (PSCs) to form, we urge you to establish a PSC on gender equality.

The Pakatan Harapan manifesto includes a commitment to ensure “the legal system protects women’s rights and dignity”, including to “review all laws relating to gender equality to ensure that every woman enjoys legal equality”.

Achieving this requires a review and reform of the legal system, which the PSC on gender equality would facilitate.

Forming a PSC would demonstrate Parliament’s commitment to gender equality, especially after the failure of government to fulfil its commitment to 30 per cent women representation, in cabinet and state assemblies, except eventually Selangor

The Manifesto Wanita, a civil society 14th General Election initiative, also demanded a PSC on gender equality.

This manifesto was endorsed by 47 civil society organisations and 18 political candidates or politicians.

The manifesto includes a promise to “make our human rights record respected by the world”.

The previous government did not fare well in its review by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) earlier this year.

To improve, Cedaw informed the government about the “crucial role of the legislative power in ensuring the full implementation of the Convention (Cedaw)”, and urged Parliament to “take the necessary steps” to implement the observations.

Forming a PSC on gender equality would demonstrate the new government is making efforts to meet Cedaw’s recommendations.

Many other jurisdictions have parliamentary committees on gender equality and women’s rights.

In the United Kingdom, the PSC for Women and Equalities examines legislation, policy, and expenditure of the government in relation to gender equality issues.

The select committee can call upon experts and hold public conferences when investigating and auditing the government’s performance on these issues.

Other examples of parliamentary committees on gender include the Committee on the Empowerment of Women (India), the House Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women (Cyprus), the Gender Equality Committee (Croatia), the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (European Parliament), Senate Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (Belgium), and the Equity and Gender Committee (Mexico).

In the previous Dewan Rakyat, a women’s parliamentary caucus existed , but it was established without a resolution by Parliament.

By OPEN LETTER

‘E-commerce a boost to female entrepreneurs’

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

EWIDER AUDIENCE … Janie Lasimbang (sitting, centre) with the organiser and participants.


KOTA KINABALU: Digital technologies expand with huge promises for women empowerment and strengthening the development of online entrepreneurship in Sabah.

Assistant Minister of Law and Native Affairs, Janie Lasimbang said micro businesses are poised to become a major growth sector in the future.

With that in mind, e-commerce marketplace can unlock growth opportunities for local sellers.

“E-commerce can generate more potential female entrepreneurs and can assist them in challenging times, she said at the opening of a seminar held at the Kepayan Police Officers’ Mess yesterday.

Janie Lasimbang who is also assemblywoman for Kapayan, said the modern way of interacting and dealing with trade is becoming increasingly complex regardless of place and time with sophisticated technology.

“The Government also strives to enhance the country’s digital economy through the digital platform provided and facilitates the process of communication and business domestically or internationally.”

Hence, she emphasized that the purpose of the seminar is a valuable opportunity and exposure to participants. The seminar is one such effort because it equips women with skills and knowledge in social media, which they might not otherwise have access to.

“Also they will know better how to leverage the various online platforms makes good business sense and it provides access to an incredibly huge consumer base, and knowing how to utilise social media for business can help enhance women entrepreneurs’ business acumen as well as operations. This allows them to promote their products and services to a wider audience,” she said.

Held for two days, the seminar was organized by Consumer Front of Sabah (Cfos) which brought together about 50 women entrepreneurs for. Topics focused on enhancing digital technology, in broadening entrepreneur’s ability to do business within the globe value chain.

Its secretary-general Hashima Hasbullah Yahya said seminar was organised collaboratively by Pusat Khidmat DAP Penampang and Persatuan Keluarga Polis (PERKEP).

The seminar aimed to help businesswomen to establish their brands and their online presence by setting up and maintaining active websites and social media accounts as well as online business etiquette.

By VESTA VANESSA JSOL.

Read more @ http://www.newsabahtimes.com.my/nstweb/fullstory/26073

More women needed in maritime sector

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018
Women comprise only four per cent of the maritime workforce in Asia and the Middle East, compared with 51 per cent for OECD countries and 24 per cent for Europe.

MARITIME shipping is an integral and vital part of the international trade chain and relies on various components for its smooth and safe functioning.

However, the increasing shortage of maritime talent in both operational and leadership roles threatens the sustainability of the sector. The International Chamber of Shipping’s Manpower Report 2015 estimates a shortage of 147,500 qualified and competent seafarers by 2025.

While women comprise 50 per cent of global talent, the International Transport Workers Federation estimates that they form only two per cent of the 1.25 million seafarers worldwide. Most women seafarers are employed in non-technical positions on passenger ships, while women shipmasters, chief engineers, and other officers are few.

Due to it being a traditionally male-dominated sector, women are either unaware of the diverse and rewarding career prospects within the maritime sector or are discouraged from participating because of entrenched social and cultural biases against them in maritime careers as well as gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Shipping companies are also reluctant to employ female seafarers due to practical obstacles, superstitions, and the perception that they are not as capable as men in handling the rigours of the maritime world. With such obstacles, it is no wonder that women receive little or no support from family and society for a career at sea.

The lack of women role models with long and successful maritime careers, in addition to inadequate access to maritime education and training, also make it more challenging for women to participate in the maritime sector, let alone strive towards leadership positions within it.

For the past 30 years, the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) global programme on the Integration of Women in the Maritime Sector has worked to address these challenges.

The programme focuses on improving access to maritime education and training for jobs at sea as well as careers in maritime administration, ports, and maritime training institutes.

It also supports the establishment of regional associations for women in the maritime sector across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Pacific Islands in creating a global platform to discuss gender issues, provide opportunities for mentoring, networking and continued professional development, as well as in spearheading the promotion of maritime careers at sea and onshore.

Currently, women comprise only four per cent of the maritime workforce in Asia and the Middle East compared to 51 per cent for OECD countries and 24 per cent for Europe.

The Marine Department Malaysia, with the support of the Ministry of Transport and the Maritime Institute of Malaysia, established the Women in Maritime Association (MyWIMA) in 2017 in response to the IMO’s call have stronger representation of women in the maritime sector in Asia.

MyWIMA serves as the National Chapter of Women in Maritime Associations to implement the IMO Integration of Women in Maritime programme in Malaysia. It also collaborates with regional associations for women in maritime through Women in Maritime Association for Asia (WIMA-Asia).

MyWIMA seeks to enhance the role of women in this sector by allowing greater access to a global network of support, sharing of experiences and expertise, and contribute to continued professional development.

It serves as a vehicle to harness their collective expertise and experience in contributing to the formulation of more effective maritime policies and in promoting Malaysia as a maritime nation. MyWIMA is open to Malaysian women involved in the maritime and marine sectors and encourages their participation in areas such as the marine environment and resources, administration, training, and in regulatory and decision-making roles.

Towards this end, MyWIMA will be hosting a Regional Conference on Women in Maritime Asia in Kuala Lumpur in November 2018. The conference aims to strengthen regional linkages among WIMA-Asia chapters and harmonise a regional work programme. It will be a platform for discussions on how women in maritime Asia can contribute towards better ocean governance in the region and globally.

More importantly, the conference offers the opportunity for women in the maritime world to identify role models and to establish support networks that are essential for realising their full potential.

MyWIMA, in collaboration with the Maritime Institute of Malaysia, is also developing a database of women in the maritime sector aimed at determining their demographics in the sector and in compiling a professional directory of women for promotion and networking.

By Amy Aai Sheau Ye.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/08/398806/more-women-needed-maritime-sector

A lady of firsts

Sunday, June 24th, 2018
SHE walks in quickly, all smiles and no airs, and sits down, apologising as she does for not shaking our hands. Malaysia’s first female Deputy Prime Minister is a woman in a hurry. So much to do, so little time is the impression one gets.

In some ways, things have come full circle, for it has been nearly two full decades since her husband was shockingly ejected from the Deputy Prime Minister’s chair.

Now he is free from jail, and she is in the thick of things in the new government.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail may be a symbol of the Reformasi movement, but she has no intention of being a symbolic appointmen

“This ministry is not just for women per se, I think it’s for all Malaysians in a way. Women hold up half the sky, and men are in the equation too. I want to focus and emphasise the family unit, and how it’s important for the roles of men and women to be complementary.”

She cites her mother as a role model.

“She was formerly an educator. But she brought us up with the idea that it is important to study, to have good manners, and plan for the future. Those are quiet values that shape who we are.”

Of course, not every plan of the Pakatan Harapan government has taken off without a hitch, she concedes.

“We wanted to do the EPF contributions but then there is Section 51 that we cannot go against, so we have to work around it.

“I even asked the Finance Minister, ‘Can we have just a volunteer section, about 30,000 husbands contributing for housewives?’ but it’s still not that easily done because it can incur costs.”

Then there is the women’s representation issue – Pakatan’s manifesto called for at least 30% of the country’s policy makers to be women but that has not happened in the state excos.

“It is a target that we talk about. I spoke to the PM yesterday; he did mention, he was thinking of how to get the cabinet balanced and how to consider different parties, and I looked at him and said ‘and women too’.

“There are some new phases and changes in the Cabinet coming, but I also want to add that we want women to be recruited based on capability and their qualification, not just because of gender.”

Dr Wan Azizah says that the global reaction to the #MeToo movement has brought fresh attention to the need for a sexual harassment act.

“Women do not like to be treated as sex subjects. You should treat us with dignity, and respect. At the moment, we as employees are protected at the workplace. But outside work, there is a gap.””

Dr Wan Azizah also moots the possibility of setting up a women empowerment and leadership institute.

“All of these things are on the cards – that we want to be something, make a change and difference in society.”

At the same time, Dr Wan Azizah says the public should take note of the Domestic Violence Act 2017, as among the amendments coming into effect this year, was the Emergency Protection Order, under which protection must be given to the victim within 24 hours.

Previously, victims were only able to seek protection under the interim protection order issued by the court. This meant that, in the past, victims weren’t able to seek protection during weekends.

According to Dr Wan Azizah, officers from the Social Welfare Department (JKM) will be placed on call 24/7 to assist victims.

“The victims will then be taken away from their aggressors and they will be removed from adverse situations and conditions,” she adds. She also points out the Penghunian Ekslusif Kediaman (Exclusive Residential Rights) as enshrined in the Act, where alleged aggressors must vacate the house of the victim, should he or she decides to return home.

“There’s at least something. Not many people know about that. If you have an abusive husband, he has to leave the premises.””

With the Women Ministry under her helm, Dr Wan Azizah says the Indira Ghandi custodial episode will not be forgotten, as she will be pushing for justice over the matter.

“You can’t interfere with the Federal Court. If the Federal Court has already made a decision, the parent has to give way,” she notes. On children’s safety, Dr Wan Azizah says the presence of a public child sex offenders’ database could prevent paedophile cases in the future.

“I think it’s important. Otherwise, we will go through again the painful episode of Richard Huckle,” she says, referring to a serial paedophile who preyed on impoverished Malaysian childen.

In noting that the Sexual Offences Against Children Act 2017 was passed last year, Wan Azizah stresses that public awareness and understanding is imperative.

“A law is just a law. It is how people make use of it that will show its effectiveness. That is why awareness is very important.”

By Tarrence Tan
Read more @ https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/06/24/a-lady-of-firsts-the-deputy-prime-minister-has-no-intention-of-being-a-symbolic-appointment-and-is-k/#YzDOg27JLGlTHy1H.99

We can boost women power

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

MALAYSIA’s commitment and dedication to the advancement of women is evident in many of its programmes and policies in the last three decades.

But, while there is progress, it is not fast enough. Many women have broken the glass ceiling, but in some cases, it is only a temporary effect.

Up to June last year, women accounted for just 17.9 per cent of the boards of directors in the top 100 listed companies on Bursa Malaysia.

What is it that holds women back from contributing their full selves?

A study by the World Bank on Malaysian women participation in the workforce found a pattern that suggested Malaysian women older than 26 were more sensitive to life-cycle transitions as compared with other countries.

Married women, regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas, participate the least in the workforce.

Malaysian women retire earlier than their male counterparts, which the World Bank attributes to women being caught in a double burden syndrome of managing the home and caring for their children, or the elderly, even if they hold full-time jobs.

Countries that offer paternity leave are the most successful in closing the wage gap between men and women. FILE PIC

Another contributing factor is that women who leave the workforce after the age of 26 will never return.

Sadly, not only is 26 the prime age to have children, it is also the prime age to build a career.

With a great number of women leaving the workforce to focus on family, the pool of women talent to fill top management jobs also shrinks.

It is also relevant to take into account that mothers, by default, are seen to be the primary, and sometimes only, caregiver, as per entrenched in our labour laws.

Women are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave under the law, but there is no provision for paternity leave.

Although certain private companies offer three to five days of paternity leave at their discretion, and government offices mostly offer seven to 14 days, this is insufficient for husbands to be a partner to their wives in raising their children.

There are, however, companies that offer one-month paternity leave.

The recommendations by the government to increase maternity leave to 90 days during the tabling of the 2018 Budget is laudable.

The Society for Equality, Respect And Trust for All (Serata) supports the recommendation by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and Malaysian Trades Union Congress to extend paternity leave to one month.

Studies done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have shown that gender inequality in unpaid care work is the missing link in the analysis of gender gaps in labour outcomes, such as labour force participation, wages and job quality.

Serata believes that to achieve gender parity at work, we must first tackle the inequality in the labour law and workplace policies by including paternity leave.

It will reduce gender inequality in the home by encouraging men to be more active in childcare, as per a study of four OECD countries.

By SABRINA ARIPEN.

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2018/02/339383/we-can-boost-women-power