Youth group to hold women-only mock parliament to promote female participation in politics

PETALING JAYA: A Young Women’s Parliament will be held next month, with 222 young delegates debating policies on women’s issues, gender equality, social issues and more in a bid to encourage more female participation in politics and policymaking.

Organised by Malaysia Young Generation (MyGen), the programme, which will run virtually on Aug 14 and Aug 15, involves young women aged 15 to 30 from a variety of backgrounds including students, Orang Asli representatives, those with disabilities and activists.

Programme director Dr Shatesh Kumar Sangar said besides giving delegates exposure to policymaking, it also serves as a platform for young women to broaden their potential to take on future leadership roles.

"The Speaker for the Young Women's Parliament sitting will be from amongst MPs and former MPs.

"The secretariat had also received a request from a person with hearing disabilities who is interested to become one of the delegates.

"The sitting will use the services of a sign language interpreter," he said in a statement.

Besides the virtual sitting, there are also various side programmes to train the delegates, including a parliamentary preparation workshop by non-governmental organisation Reform Malaysia, webinar series on women's issues, as well as a mentoring programme with 12 MPs, assemblymen and former senators.

This includes former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic), former energy, science, technology, environment, and climate change minister Yeo Bee Yin and former deputy women, family and community development minister Datuk Heng Seai Kie.

Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Sungai Tiang assemblyman Datuk Suraya Yaacob, Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, former senator Datuk Fahariyah Mohd Nordin and Wanita MIC chief Usha Nandhini Jayaram will also take the delegates under their wings in the mentoring programme.

"It is time for women to speak up and stop being taken advantage of as mere vote-getters for political parties.

"Women must be given a more important role in politics and not just be used as vote-getters, or as community liaisons during the general election.

"All women's wings must urge their respective political parties to allocate at least 40% of the available seats for female candidates and if this is not fulfilled, then the women's wings do not need to help them in the coming election campaign," said Dr Shatesh.

He added that the programme is being held as a response to Malaysia being ranked 117 out of 152 countries in a report by the World Economic Forum on female participation in politics.

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