Women’s groups want all female judges allowed into Shariah system

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Istana Kehakiman / Palace of Justice ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Istana Kehakiman / Palace of Justice ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — Women’s groups here are railing against the reported barring of female judges from the Shariah justice system in certain states, calling it another form of institutionalised gender discrimination in Malaysia.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Sumitra Visvanathan also labelled the ban unconstitutional, noting that it is the result of state fatwas (religious edicts), which she said are guidelines and are therefore not legally mandatory.

“The attempts by some state fatwa councils to bar women judges from the Shariah justice system is yet another tool to push a misogynist agenda and maintain the status quo of inequality for women in the workplace, attempting to ensure that women are prevented from being in positions of authority.

“Furthermore, it conflicts with the Federal Constitution and other federal law (i.e. Acts of Parliament), and these pronouncements can cause confusion,” she said in an email interview with Malay Mail Online. Read more