Women of Malaysia


I just spent my one hour listening to a live discussion between Marina Mahathir, Juana Jaafar, Zainah Anwar, Dr. Tessa and Masjaliza Hamzah (the moderator for this session). I find it rather inspiring than more Malaysian (mostly Malay) women are fighting for women's rights. I think there are more known and uprising feminists that are Malay, more than the other ethnics in Malaysia. In fact, I can't even name a Chinese feminists in Malaysia, or maybe I don't know or heard of them - yet. Now, why am I bringing up this race issue? Surely one would know how sensitive this issue is this in Malaysia.

The reason is because I think for one - Malaysians may live "together" in many different cultures but we still understand our own culture best. But really, look around us - how many of us really do live in multicultural environment? I mean live as in sharing lives together. Not so much, not yet. One thing I observed is that a lot of Malay feminists often turn out to be Muslim feminists too because that's what they know best, it is interrelated. In a lot of cultures - including Chinese and Indian, and in Malaysia - it is often gender-biased and it's still happening today whether in a small or large extent. It's good to have feminists that are from various ethnic background around in Malaysia because they could be the one that will represent Malaysian women (who are made up of various ethnicity). It will give these feminist groups a holistic view but this is an ideal, of course.

I still know of people who thinks that women should stick to being "homey, lovely and caring" all the time. Whenever an issue arises, it would be the woman that would be put to blame. Women are not given the space to make mistakes! Many people still do not believe women have the same capability to perform as effectively as men in top leadership positions even though there are clearly some trait differences between women and men. Because of this, women have often been given less opportunity than men. Don't believe me? Let me give you this question - between a man and a woman of the same qualification, almost similar work experience, which would you offer a job to? Most probably and commonly, people would choose man. Because it is "rational" as there are more disadvantages to hiring a woman like pregnancy, maternity leave, family priorities and such. I'm pretty sure that even women themselves think the same way. I would probably choose the man. You see, this has become a social stigma in our society.

Malaysia really needs more bold women like them (those in the video). To speak up and voice up thoughts. Will Malaysia be able to accept it if the Prime Minister is a woman? If no, why not? A question for us to think about : )

P/S: It's elections tomorrow! Let the best party win, fair and square. Let's pray for a better Malaysia.

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