Women and the Law 2016 Forum

Zonta Club of Kuala Lumpur Forum on “WOMEN AND THE LAW – Know Your Rights

Date : Saturday 22nd October 2016

Time : 9.30 am – 4.30 pm

Registration : 8.00 am – 9.15 am (Welcome coffee/tea and snacks)

Venue : PULLMAN HOTEL, 1 Jalan Pantai Jaya, 59200 K.L.

Fee : RM250 per person (on or before September 30,2016);  RM300 per person (after September 30, 2016)

Mode of payment : Please bank in to Kelab Zonta Kuala Lumpur”

Acct no:  564276816601 Maybank TTDI

(Please email amasg56@gmail.com proof of payment with sender’s name and contact details.)

For any queries do email: amasg56@gmail.com OR text to 0122120621

The forum on “Women and the Law – Know your Rights” is a full-day programme where we hope to create awareness on the status of women’s rights in so far as it has been provided for and achieved to date within the context of the laws in Malaysia. We hope to stimulate healthy discussion on the related issues so that women in general know and understand their rights within the Law.  

The Guiding Principle of Zonta International, its Districts and its Clubs is that Women’s Rights are Human Rights, essential for the development of all People. Zonta International endorses the values expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Topics for Discussion

  1. CEDAW RECOMMENDATIONS AND MALAYSIA: are we on track?Shanthi Dairiam
  2. WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS – how true is this maxim?Dato’ Malik Imtiaz Sarwar
  4. WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN THE FAMILY: what happens when there is ‘trouble in Paradise’?Honey Tan, Tan Law Practice, KL
  5. RIGHTS OF THE INDIGENOUS WOMEN – have they been compromised? – Centre for OA Concerns
  6. MARGINALISED WOMEN, THE SICK AND THE INFIRM – are their legal rights given due recognition?Lyana Khairudin

Moderator: Puan Hendon Mohamed, Malaysian Bar Council

About Zonta Club of Kuala Lumpur:

Zonta Club of Kuala Lumpur, currently the only Zonta Club in Malaysia, was registered with the ROS in 2011. The Club is a Charter Club of Zonta International (ZI), a 97-year-old organisation, which has its headquarters in Chicago, USA.

Zonta’s focus is on Empowerment of Women and Girls through Service and Advocacy. The membership of Zonta International has now expanded to 30,000 in 66 countries since its inception in 1919. Zonta International has official relations with the United Nations as an NGO. Members of clubs of ZI are women in leadership positions, professionals and executives (please refer to www.zonta.org).

Zonta International, its districts and its clubs are non-partisan and non-sectarian.

Conversations – Violence against Women: Advocating for Legal Reform

Join the New Tactics community for an online conversation onViolence against Women: Advocating for Legal Reform from September 26th – 30th, 2016.

Across the world, women are abused, trafficked, raped and killed. Violence against women is a grave violation of human rights, negatively affecting women’s well-being and precluding women from fully participating in society. It not only leads to severe physical, sexual and mental consequences to each individual victim, but tears their families, community and society apart.

In Guatemala, two women are murdered, each day. In India, as many as 22 women are killed daily for dowry. In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners. 120 million girls worldwide have experienced forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. According to 2016 estimates published on the United Nations’ International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, at least 200 million women and girls have been subjected to female genital mutilation. Women and girls account for about 70 per cent of trafficking victims. Many victims suffer in silence for fear of losing the economic support of the male perpetrator or fear of victim blaming and even when a victim reports to law enforcement agents, the issue is often trivialized.

Although decades of women’s movements have made unprecedented progress towards ending gender-based violence, according to UNIFEM (formerly the UN agency for gender equity, now UN Women), chasms in legal frameworks remain: states fail their international obligations and commitments to prevent violence against women; many perpetrators escape from being held accountable; and women continue to be re-victimized through the legal process. Legal reform could provide effective protections. Such reform must make legislation easy to be enforced, monitored and adequately allocate resources to address the problem. Governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations and other institutions should partner in this process of adopting and enacting legal reforms.

In this conversation, we seek to discuss tactics for developing effective legal reform to prevent violence against women, monitoring and enforcing laws, and building advocacy for legal reform.  Join us for this important discussion!

Conversation Leaders


Grecia's picture
Shelly Carlson's pictureShelly Carlson
Global Rights for Women
CherylThomas's picture
IVY JOSIAH's picture
Ivy Josiah
Women’s Aid Organisation
ARROW's picture
ARROW (The Asian-Pacific
Resource and Research
Centre for Women)
Amy Lauricella's picture
Jacqui Hunt's picture
CherylThomas's picture
 Christine's picture


Politics: Where Are Our Women?


In conjunction with Art For Grabs: Family Squad!, The G-Blog proudly presents our second public forum this year, on women and politics!

The G-Blog hopes to facilitate an open discussion with political practitioners and the public, especially young women, to analyse the political landscape in Malaysia and consider the reasons that may contribute to the lack of participation of women in politics – and how we might overcome these challenges.

The G-Blog promises you a stellar lineup of panellists which will be announced soon on their page @ https://www.facebook.com/events/1142790435815513

Policing women’s bodies in Malaysia — Fifa Rahman & Azrul Mohd Khalib

Source: The Malay Mail Online


SEPTEMBER 5 — Of late, it seems like everyone has been giving their opinion as to whether or not a woman should cover up and to what degree. Some have even gone to the extent of legislating a ban on a specific type of clothing, believing that to wear the latter would be representative of support for terrorism and violent extremism.

We have seen burly armed members of the French police surround a woman on a Nice beach forcing her to take off her burkini, an outfit apparently not “respecting good morals and secularism”. The resulting controversy and outcry against such discriminatory behaviour by a state institution continues to reverberate throughout Europe.

Not since the invention of the bikini has a female garment caused such consternation, distress and public debate.

On this side of the world, those from the religious quarter or those who consider themselves better Muslims and self-anointed “defenders of the faith”, are busy slut-shaming those who decide to not cover up and are also determining for women what is acceptable clothing to wear in public. Therein is marked hypocrisy.

Most of the debates in Malaysia seem to centre around the hijab, skirt length and what constitutes acceptable female attire. Moral policing of women, in particular, seems to be a favourite pastime. Read more

Bumped off the career path

Source: NST Online

File pic — AFP

File pic — AFP

WOMEN still face challenges and unfair treatment at the workplace when they become pregnant, according to a recent survey by the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

The online poll, called the Workplace Discrimination Survey, polled 222 women from across the country to shed light on workplace discrimination against pregnant women.

More than 40 per cent of those polled admitted to having experienced job discrimination due to their pregnancy. The survey also revealed the top five ways employers discriminated against pregnant women. These included measures such as making their positions redundant, denying them promotions, placing them on prolonged probation, demoting them and terminating their jobs.

WAO launched the survey to promote respect, protection and equal rights for women in the workplace, specifically for pregnant women.

A woman should be free to choose if and when to have children says Sumitra Visvanathan, executive director of WAO. Read more

Closing the gaps in the law — Joint Action Group for Gender Equality

Source: The Malay Mail Online

AUG 26 — On Hari Wanita, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) urges the Malaysian government to close the gaps in our domestic laws that obstruct the elimination of violence against women and girls and the achievement of gender equality in our country, which remain yet unrealized goals.

Even after years of civil society expending critical resources in educating and engaging with policymakers, words have not materialised into concrete actions, and women and girls are still regularly subjected to violence and discrimination, with limited recourse in the law. It is time for all MPs to demonstrate their commitment to eliminating the gender gap and bringing about equality in our society by supporting the law reform initiatives that JAG has been lobbying for consistently over the past decade. Read more

Malaysia: Impian Wanita Hari Ini

Dear all,

The 31st August and 16th September are important dates for Malaysians – these are the dates that we remember and celebrate our nation, and to reflect upon what it means to be citizens and members of a nation that was founded to be democratic, diversive, progressive, moderate and just.

However, our dreams of such a nation seem just that – a dream.

Are you tired of the spiraling state of this nation? Are you needing a deep, rich conversation with others like you who hold a feminist version of a just and truly democratic society?

AWAM’s Membership Development Committee is hosting a one-day Open Space event to create space for the sort of conversations you long to have.

Join us at the PJ Community Library on 20 August 2016, from 9AM to 5:30PM (Registration starts at 8:30AM) to engage in high-participatory conversations about The Malaysia Women Dream of.

Register before the 16th August 2016 HERE.

The Malaysia Women Dream Of - One-day OST

Forum: Patriarchy, not religion fuelling oppression of Muslim women in Malaysia

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Fadiah Nadwa Fikri speaks at a forum titled ‘Maqasid Shariah and Women’s Rights’ in Kuala Lumpur, April 10, 2016. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa

Fadiah Nadwa Fikri speaks at a forum titled ‘Maqasid Shariah and Women’s Rights’ in Kuala Lumpur, April 10, 2016. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — The root cause behind the oppression of Muslim women in Malaysia lies with patriarchy and how Islam has been used as a tool to control and oppress certain groups in society, panellists at a forum said last night.

In a forum titled “Maqasid Shariah and Women’s Rights”, Bersih 2.0 national representative Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said that Islam in Malaysia has been used in the past as a tool by men to maintain power over women.

Citing Islamist party PAS’s recent reminder to women of their supposed true “functions” as homemakers, the activists said that this was a classic example of how religion is used and interpreted to justify a system which oppresses women.

“This view reinforces patriarchy, it is a system that enables oppression to women.

“Then we have religious teachings that are taught by men and interpreted in their ways,” she told attendees at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here.   Read more

Mothers who had to fight hard for child custody after a divorce

Source: The Star Online

Stories of women who had to fight for the custody of their children after a divorce. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani

Stories of women who had to fight for the custody of their children after a divorce. Photo: The Star/Azman Ghani

Aida goes up against the legal system

Aida has been trying to get a divorce from her estranged husband for four years. She’d been abused throughout their marriage and to add insult to injury, he’d taken a second wife without her knowledge. Still, she has been unable to obtain a divorce.

“He refuses to talak and the judge is unwilling to step in even though I have multiple police reports documenting the abuse I have experienced. According to my husband, since want a divorce I have to pay for it, literally, until he is ready to talak,” says the teacher who has raised her three children on her own for the past four years.

Aida’s husband has not fulfilled his duties as a husband and father, but he refuses to grant Aida her divorce out of spite, and because he knows the law favours him.

Muslim women face unequal rights when seeking a divorce. Unlike non-muslim women who have equal rights to marriage and divorce as men under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1967 (LRA), says Aliah Ali, communications officer for Sisters in Islam. Read more

Engendering freedom — Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz

Source: The Malay Mail Online


MARCH 18 — Over the course of last week and this week, there have been many events celebrating International Women’s Day, which fell on March 8 — in very different ways from its first commemoration by the Socialist Party of America in New York in 1909.

When asked whether I am a “feminist,” I reply “of course, because I believe in individual human rights for everyone, regardless of the various attributes we happen to possess.”

On the whole, this answer is met with approval. But occasionally, I meet the more militant type of feminist who insists this is not good enough, due to historical exploitation by men and persistent institutional biases against women, and therefore extra measures or additional privileges are necessary, even if temporarily.

In such cases, I cannot help but think of the more militant type of ethnonationalist who routinely argues for authoritarian measures to “correct” racial imbalances, usually using the power of the state. Unfortunately, the record of well-intentioned affirmative action policies, especially in our country, is discouraging. Read more