THERE should be more opportunities, especially in the professional field, that are created with women in mind, said Tunku Ampuan Besar of Negri Sembilan Tuanku Aishah Rohani Tengku Besar Mahmud.
The consort of the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan said the many roles and responsibilities that women juggle daily should be taken into consideration in creating a more equal and balanced world for women.
Tuanku Aishah Rohani said this in her keynote speech at the “Women in Law: Challenges and Perspectives” talk and discussion organised by law firm Lee Hishamuddin Allen and Gledhill in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
Tuanku Aishah Rohani said in line with the tagline for this year’s International Women’s Day, which is Balance for Better, society needed to look at creating a more balanced world for women.
“The theme resonates well with me as it encourages society at large to pave paths in creating a balanced world for women.
“For us, balancing our (many) roles and responsibilities is not something new; we are used to juggling our commitments to work and to our families.
“But the question we have to ask ourselves is whether the existing opportunities for women are balanced; in other words, are these opportunities made available with the needs of women in mind?
“There must be a commitment to achieving this in many aspects of our society including for a gender-balanced government and boardroom representation, gender-balanced media opportunity,
and gender-balanced sports coverage,” she said.
She cited the law field as an example, where women outnumber men in law school, but where women can be seen leaving the law profession more than men after a few years.
“It is of some concern that many women still find the legal profession a challenge that they are compelled to leave legal practice especially after many years of hard work.
“Why is this happening and how can we address this career dynamics?” she said.
She added that the Malaysian society at large can use Negri Sembilan’s adat pepatih (traditional customs) as an example to create an equal world for women.
“Feminism is not a new concept to Negri Sembilan people, as the centuries-old customs are still in practice.
“I hope there will be more discourse on the perspective of gender relations within the old customs and its correlation with our present-day feminist jurisprudence,” she added.
The panellists for the discussion were Human Resource Development Fund chairman and social activist Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin, Negri Sembilan state Women, Family, and Welfare Committee chairman and Bukit Kepayang state assemblyperson Nicole Tan Lee Koon, SP Setia Berhad independent non-executive director Datuk Zuraidah Atan, and the ombudsman for Financial Services director Datin Veronica Selvanayagy.
Raja Puan Muda Kedah Che Puan Muda Zaheeda Mohamad Ariff and Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs founding president and chairman Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin Tuanku Muhriz also attended the event.