PETALING JAYA: It is time to take women’s participation in politics to the next level, says Tan Sri Shahrizat Jalil.
The former Wanita Umno chief said that the topic of gender parity in politics has been an issue that has lingered since the 1990s and there should not be any further delay in achieving the goal.
“We’ve been talking about a minimum quota of 30% of women in political seats since I first started in the 1990s. We cannot afford to be having the same conversation, and the same goals over 20 years later,” she said in an Instagram post today (Oct 4).
She said women have been the backbone of Malaysian politics since Independence, and it was time to see more women in Parliament instead of only the paltry 14%.
Shahrizat also said that she was glad the discourse on women’s participation has been attracting attention ahead of the upcoming elections.
“As a politician myself, I understand firsthand the challenges and barriers that women face – in getting fielded in a winnable constituency, the personal and gendered attacks women politicians specifically endure, and the higher standards we are held to, to prove that we are half as good as our male counterparts.
“I am certain that the country’s top (male) leadership, in particular from Umno and Barisan Nasional component parties, will be very attentive to this issue because they recognise that many women have the capacity, drive, and potential to lead and serve the people of this country,” said the former women, children and community development minister.
Last month, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the party will try to meet its Wanita wing's call for women to make up 30% of its candidates in the 15th General Election (GE15) on a "best effort basis".
“The party will try but on a best-effort basis,” he said during the Wanita Barisan convention on Aug 14.
Currently, there are 33 women MPs in Malaysia or 14.86% out of the total of 222.