The Malay NGO Isma’s idea of solely depending on men as breadwinners and reducing women to child-rearing duties is defective and discriminating to all Malaysians regardless of gender.
Shane Fuentes | December 18, 2014
“The statement by Isma is flawed as it demoralizes the struggle of Malaysian women.”
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malay NGO Isma’s idea of solely depending on men as breadwinners and reducing women to child-rearing duties is defective and discriminating to all Malaysians regardless of gender.
Contrary to Isma’s beliefs, Malaysia will never achieve a high-income nation or even developed nation status, if gender stereotypes continue to perpetuate our society, especially in matters that concern the economy and honouring basic human rights.
DAPSY Bukit Bendera Secretary, Syerleena Abdul Rashid, was commenting on the NGO’s statement in the media linking the achievement of Malaysia’s objective of a high income nation status with women staying at home and men out working.
“The statement made by Dr Nur Farrah Nadia Najib, who heads Isma’s family and society bureau, is flawed as it demoralizes the struggle of Malaysian women.”
Syerleena, who is also DAP Wanita Bukit Bendera Political Education Director, pointed out that in 1995, Malaysia ratified the United Nations Convention On The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), also known as Treaty for Women’s Equality, which emphasized on the importance of increasing the number of women’s participation in the workforce and to promote healthier, gender-balanced decision making.
“The convention presents the foundations for comprehending equality between women and men through ensuring equal opportunities in various aspects such as politics, education, health and employment,” said Syerleena in dismissing Isma’s theories from the fringe.
Again, in 2000, Malaysia joined the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a global initiative aimed to promote gender equality by the year 2015, only a few weeks away, she added. “This initiative is regarded as a highly important measure to honour and celebrate the immeasurable efforts women have made in society.”
Despite all of these efforts, Syerleena stressed that the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Gender Gap report in 2014 stated that Malaysia’s ranking had dropped significantly and now joins 10 other nations whose gender equality practices are among the lowest in the world.
“This is not good for the economy and definitely not good for this country’s morale.”
“Even though, the number of women enrolled in tertiary institutions is currently higher than men, the opportunities for women to progress in the local workforce are different,” she said. “To some extent, these opportunities may not even exist at all.”
She argued that there’s no basis for comparison between Malaysia and Japan, held up by Isma as a role model.
“Most recently, re-elected Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has pledged to actively encourage more women to participate and contribute to the workforce,” she said.
“This is a sign that Japan has come to a realization that their country needs women as much as they need men to help drive a struggling economy and it is time that Malaysians realize this too.”