Group calls for more to be done to empower women


PETALING JAYA: In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the Council of Malaysian Women Political Leaders (Comwel) wants more effort put in to intensify the agenda on women empowerment and the promotion of gender equality.

In a joint statement, 44 women leaders at parliamentary and state levels said women all over the world must stand up to take on the challenge to empower their families, communities and themselves, especially in facing a “new norm” globally.

“In terms of politics and leadership, we must double the efforts to improve women representation in decision-making and leadership positions for the interest of all women in the country, ” the group said in a statement yesterday.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge”.

For Malaysia, although the country has yet to reach the 30% women representation in parliamentary and in the state assemblies, as mandated by the United Nations, Comwel said Malaysia had marked several proud achievements.

“Among them is the appointment of the first female deputy speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, a first in the country’s history, which reflects our capabilities to appoint more women leaders to a higher level, ” said the group.

Comwel also urged that the women empowerment agenda be further championed not purely based on political rhetoric, but based on a joint strategic effort.

“Leadership in Malaysia must go beyond the political divide as it will facilitate the women empowerment agenda to reach its target and, at the same time, will benefit women in the country, ” added Comwel.

“We believe that with mutual effort from all parties and the spirit of togetherness of women leaders in Malaysia, we will be able to see more women achieve success and glory in their endeavours, ” it added.

Comwel will work to achieve several targets, including to give priority to bills, policies and laws that lead to gender equality, to push for more motions that empower women so it could be debated in Parliament and to balance the gender representation among parliamentarians.

The group also called for more allocation and a budget that is women-friendly and more gender-sensitive, as well as equal representation by gender in the special parliamentary select committees.

In a joint bipartisan statement of female parliamentarians, the MPs urged their male counterparts to be more gender-sensitive in an effort to make Malaysia’s Parliament a “world-class institution”.

The group said a gender-sensitive Parliament would be able to meet the needs and interests of all, including women in terms of composition, structure, operation, methods and work matters.

“It removes the barriers to women’s full participation and offers a positive example or model by promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment to society, ” said the group.

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