PETALING JAYA: The Women and Family Development Ministry has apologised for posting a series of posters criticised as being sexist.
In a statement on Tuesday (March 31) night, the ministry said it had received many responses from various groups over the controversial posters posted on its social media accounts.
According to the ministry, the approach taken by them was to share a method to maintain a positive family relationship while working from home.
The ministry also said they were promoting daily tips and positive messages on social media with the #wanitacegahcovid19 (women prevent Covid-19) hashtag, which covers various themes aim at women.
“We apologise if there were certain tips that were not appropriate and offended the sensitivities of certain groups. We will be more careful in future, ” it said in a statement posted on Instagram Tuesday (March 31).
Several women rights groups have spoken out against the “Kebahagiaan Rumahtangga (Household Harmony)” posters, with some calling for Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun to stop using the posters.
In one poster, a caricature of a woman and man are seen hanging clothes to dry, with a message in Bahasa Malaysia that reads; “If your spouse does something that displeases you, don't nag him. Use humour and tell him 'this is the way you hang the clothes, my darling' (and use a Doraemon-like voice and giggle)”.
Another poster stresses the importance of an individual’s appearance, and advises mothers working from home to always look neat and “groom yourself as usual”.
The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), on its Facebook page, said women should not be told to “act like Doraemon” or be childlike.
Karen Lai, programme director at Women's Centre for Change in Penang, said negative stereotypes of women as subordinate to men are at the root of gender inequality, which ultimately leads to discrimination and violence against women.
"Women have the right to speak up about how they feel without having to be labelled as nags and certainly without needing to stoop to becoming cartoon characters," said Lai.
The Women and Family Development Ministry have drawn public flak before, most recently when they shut down the Talian Kasih helpline due to the MCO.
Talian Kasih, the hotline for domestic violence victims, was subsequently reactivated.
Kami mengambil maklum respon banyak pihak berhubung beberapa tips untuk wanita yang dipromosikan semasa berada di dalam tempoh Perintah Kawalan Pegerakan (PKP) melalui poster-poster yang telah disiarkan di media sosial kami. Pendekatan yang digunakan adalah untuk berkongsi kaedah dan amalan untuk mengekalkan hubungan yang positif dalam keluarga dan ketika menjalani fasa bekerja dari rumah. Pihak kami menghebahkan tips harian dan mesej positif dalam media sosial dengan kempen #wanitacegahcovid19 merangkumi pelbagai tema dengan matlamat untuk berkongsi maklumat kepada golongan wanita. Pihak kami memohon maaf sekiranya beberapa tips yang dikongsikan tidak bersesuaian dan menyentuh sensitiviti golongan tertentu serta akan lebih berhati-hati pada masa akan datang. Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita 31 Mac 2020
A post shared by kpwkm (@kpwkm) on Mar 31,2020 at 5:51am PDT