PETALING JAYA: Women’s groups are urging the newly-appointed Women, Family and Community Development minister to pursue law reforms, including for the protection of children.
Women’s Aid Organisation advocacy director Abinaya Mohan said they trust Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri to look into closing existing gaps in protection for women from violence and bolstering initiatives to improve gender equality.
“For this, the minister and her team need to closely engage with grassroots and civil society organisations working on gender equality, women and children’s rights in the country.
“We look forward to supporting her and the ministry in making Malaysia a better country for women,” she said.
All Women’s Action Society (Awam) information and communications officer Jernell Tan said child marriages, period poverty and unequal rights of citizenship conferral to overseas-born children of Malaysian mothers are the persistent issues that need to be addressed.
“On child marriages and unequal citizenship conferral rights, we hope to see strengthened efforts from the minister in engaging with key stakeholders, religious departments in states that have yet to increase the minimum marriageable age to 18 years old and the Home Ministry respectively, so that the relevant legislative amendments can be done.
“On period poverty, we also look forward to working with the ministry to comprehensively understand the prevalence and impact of this issue and to develop relevant policies and initiatives to create a Malaysia where women and girls have equitable access to sanitary products and infrastructure.
Tan commended Nancy for being a crucial ally in women’s rights by not only supporting the passing of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill but also having a keen interest in gender-responsive budgeting.
“With her demonstrated interest in gender-responsive budgeting and women economic empowerment, we also hope to see the minister and her team playing a very instrumental role in coordinating effective inter-ministerial gender mainstreaming efforts.
“This will enable the implementation of responsive socioeconomic policies, initiatives and programmes for women, especially women from B40 and the Orang Asli communities and in Sabah and Sarawak,” Tan said.
Meanwhile Association of Women Lawyers committee member, Meera Samanther said she looks forward to working with Nancy on the many laws reforms that they have been advocating.
This included the granting of Malaysian citizenship to children with Malaysian mothers who were born overseas, regardless of the citizenship of the fathers, issues of Persons with Disabilities, the establishment of rules or regulation and follow up politics to the Anti Sexual Harassment act, eradication of child marriages and to enact the Gender Equality Bill.