Towards a women-friendly green city

Siow (centre) facilitating one of the group discussions held during the Women-Friendly Green City MPSJ Lab.

HAVING dedicated walkways separated from motorised traffic, enforcing women-friendly train coaches and public facilities and providing childcare services were among the suggestions mooted at the Women-Friendly Green City MPSJ Lab.

The event, organised by Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), was aimed at empowering a public-private partnership to get feedback and form the framework for a Women-Friendly Green City, in line with MPSJ’s efforts to become the first women-friendly city in Malaysia.

Some 120 participants compris­ing MPSJ staff, representatives from non-governmental organisations, synergy partners from private companies and tertiary-level students attended the session that was moderated by Malaysian Institute of Planners former president Khairiah Talha.

The event began with presenta­tions by MyNature president Rashdan Rashid and National Council of Women’s Organisations Malaysia (NCWO) Environment and Sustainability Committee co-chair Siow Suan Neo, who spoke on community involvement in creating green cities and women-friendly cities respectively.

(From left) Khairiah, Ng, Subang Jaya deputy OCPD Supt Choo Lily, Noraini, Siow and Rashdan during the Q&A session at the Women-Friendly Green City MPSJ Lab.

(From left) Khairiah, Ng, Subang Jaya deputy OCPD Supt Choo Lily, Noraini, Siow and Rashdan during the Q&A session at the Women-Friendly Green City MPSJ Lab.

Rashdan stressed on the importance of capacity building from young and empowering communities with the right resources and partners to execute projects and ensure maximum impact.

Siow said guidelines under the Universal Design and Crime Prevention through Environmental Design could be incorporated for new buildings or retrofitted into existing buildings, as these featured designs that are catered to women, children, the elderly and disabled.

“It includes dedicated pathways that are separated from traffic using bollards or hedges, sufficient lighting and roof design,” she said.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng shared her thoughts on making Subang Jaya a green city and cited examples of initiatives in the United Kingdom that she experienced during her time there.

“We could also look into initiatives done by other local councils in Malaysia to see if they could be done at MPSJ, or look into improvements at the council level, such as educating those who separate waste at home on where they can send their waste,” said Ng.

MPSJ president Noraini Roslan said the input from participants would be evaluated and incorporated into an action plan and the council’s future budget.

“We want to get the stakeholders’ feedback on what they want for a green and women-friendly city.

“It’s about getting the community to build a network to help each other.”

Noraini said their mission was to provide basic services and infrastructure such as cleanliness, roads, drains and streetlights, but needed to look into other aspects such as safety and environment to make a township more vibrant and sustainable.

“We are moving from the awareness stage to capacity building.

“As a local council, I feel that our role now is to provide a networking platform to put all the elements together, such as a centre for people to exchange and share resources or a community market for people to barter and sell products.”

Noraini said her ideas included safehouses for at-risk children staying in low-cost flats and bazaars specifically for female entrepreneurs to market and promote their goods and services.

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