Suhakam: More needs to be done for women empowerment despite progress

THE Government and all relevant stakeholders should adopt and realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 5.

“This can be done by intensifying efforts to advance gender equality, end all forms of discrimination and violence against women, and promote women empowerment in all areas towards ensuring quality of life, not only for the marginalised but for all women and girls in the country,” said Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), in conjunction with the International Women’s Day today.

The commission lauded the initiatives made by the Government to date, which have yielded positive results. However, it noted much more is needed to ensure women in Malaysia have equal access to opportunities like men.

“There is significant progress in education and training, labour force participation, economic participation, improvement in the health status and representation in positions of public authority, the economy and politics.

Pandemic made life difficult for women

“This can be seen through the appointment of more women in high-ranking positions in Government-linked companies (GLCs) and as CEOs of public listed companies (PLCs). There is also an increase in the role of women as legislators, judges, senior officials and other higher positions in the Government sector.

“Despite the progress, the Statistics on Women Empowerment in Selected Domains, Malaysia, 2020 reported that women political empowerment aspect recorded the lowest score, with eight states registering scores under national equality level,” it said.

Suhakam added that COVID-19 had also exacerbated the pre-existing inequalities and systemic barriers to women’s participation and leadership.

It stated that vulnerable women are facing increased domestic violence, unemployment, unpaid or reduced salaries and poverty; struggling to provide basic needs for the family under their care.

“Therefore, all quarters must work together towards empowering women to uphold their rights and fully leverage their leadership potential in pandemic preparedness and response, particularly in integrating their perspectives in the formulation and implementation of related policies and recovery programmes,” Suhakam opined. – March 8, 2021.

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