Political parties urged to endorse recently launched Women’s Manifesto

Source: The Star Online

Launching of the Women’s Manifesto on International Women’s Day by Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) with support of non-governmental organisations under the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG). Pic from The Star Online.

PETALING JAYA: Political parties and candidates are urged to endorse the recently launched Women’s Manifesto to champion women’s rights in Malaysia.

The Women’s Manifesto was launched on International Women’s Day by Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) with support of non-governmental organisations under the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG).

“We hope to see political parties endorsing our Manifesto over the next few weeks, in time for the 14th General Election,” said Empower executive director Angela Kuga Thas at the launch in Gerakbudaya on Thursday.

Angela said that 40 civil society organisations have already endorsed the Women’s Manifesto, and hopes to see more political parties and organisations being added to the list.

The three objectives of the Women’s Manifesto is to have election candidates champion women’s agenda, inform Malaysians on the state of women’s rights, and to demand for change from the government to create a better environment for women’s rights. Read more

WAO Invisible Women Exhibition Launch

WAO poster

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) is launching their ‘Invisible Women’ art exhibition, which highlights women’s stories of pregnancy and motherhood discrimination in the workplace.

To learn about the campaign, visit www.invisiblewomen.com.my

Programme:

2:00 pm – Registration & Networking

2:30 pm – Welcome address by Meera Samanther, Vice-President of WAO

2:35 pm – Speech by H.E. Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Malaysia

2:45 pm – Speech and officiation by representative from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (TBC)

3:00 pm – Art exhibition concept by WAO and creative partner, Leo Burnett

3:15 pm – Panel discussion on ‘Empowering Women in the Workplace’ followed by Q&A with:

– Representative from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (TBC)
– H.E. Vicki Treadell (British High Commissioner to Malaysia)
– Leader from Yayasan Sime Darby (TBC)
– Yasmin Masidi (Acting Advocacy Manager of WAO)
– Pia Dhaliwal (Copywriter of Leo Burnett)
– Michelle Tan (Had faced workplace discrimination)

4:00 pm – Viewing of art exhibition; Refreshments

NGOs call for a ‘safe space’ for sexual abuse victims to be heard

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: Women’s rights organisations in Malaysia are calling for a “safe space” where women can speak up on sexual violence and harassment.

“In a world of changing cultural values of modern society, women’s rights along with other human rights groups have an important responsibility to stand up in solidarity to create safe spaces for victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment,” said the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 6).

Read more

Domestic violence at an all time high, say activist group

Source: The Malaysian Insight

The Malaysian Insight pic, December 9, 2017.

From t: Sumitra Visvanathan, executive director of Women’s Aid Organisation, Bernice Chauley, Chan Wen Li and Linda Iskandar at the book launch. – The Malaysian Insight pic, December 9, 2017.

A WOMEN’S group is concerned about domestic violence which it says is at an all-time high.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) communications officer Tan Heang-Lee, said one reason for the increase is that women are more aware of their rights.

“According to Universiti Sains Malaysia, 9% of partnered women in Malaysia experience domestic violence,” she told The Malaysian Insight at the Tina WAO book launch.

In 2016 there were 5,796 cases, up from 3,173 in 2010.

Tan said WAO had received over 2,660 hotline calls, WhatsApp conversations and e-mails via Tina, a person “conceptualised as a victim of domestic violence, so women can relate more when calling in.” Read more

WAO slams Slimme White ad on domestic abuse victim

Source: FMT News

Women’s Aid Organisation says women need respect and equality, not a beauty product that promises fair skin and a flat tummy.

PETALING JAYA: The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) today slammed an advertisement featuring a domestic abuse survivor whose husband begs her to return after she uses a beauty product to make her thinner and fairer.

Calling the Slimme White ad “offensive, unhealthy and irresponsible”, WAO said such advertisements were also “incredibly damaging” as they implied that women who look a certain way deserve abuse, and that their husbands have a right to abuse them.

“Ads like this enable domestic violence.

“The video’s perverse logic is essentially: be pretty and your husband won’t hit you. What an insult to women,” it said in a statement. Read more

How the govt, NGOs and public can act against human trafficking

Source: FMT News 

Legislation regarding the rights of migrant workers should be enforced, NGOs should advocate the rights of trafficked victims, and the general public should practise simple human decency. Image drawn from FMT News.

The Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) recently released its annual report on human trafficking, which aims to educate the public on the issue as well as highlight successful case studies.

The organisation also made a number of recommendations for governments, NGOs and the general public in hopes that they will lead to positive change for victims of human trafficking.

WAO recommends that first and foremost, the Malaysian government ratifies the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families; The ILO Domestic Workers Convention 2011; the UN Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees; and the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

The government is also urged to ensure the enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to domestic workers, and either amend the Employment Act 1955 to cover migrant workers or create separate legislation to protect migrant workers’ rights. Read more

Male domestic abuse victims require attention too

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Men should stand up for their own kind, especially for the sake of those among them who are silent victims of domestic abuse.

This is because some men are still reluctant to go to the authorities themselves, despite the rising number of cases involving domestic violence against their gender, Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (Sawo) president Winnie Yee said.

“Men should come forward to address this issue and provide support to those who need help.

“Just as women’s organisations like us are providing help to other women, men should do the same,” she told FMT. Read more

A wife’s body is her own’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Social activist Marina Mahathir has denounced Setiu MP Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh for condemning women who repel sexual advances from their husbands.

“A man does not own a woman’s body when he marries her any more than she owns his,” she said in a comment on a recent speech Zulkifly made in the Dewan Rakyat.

During a debate on domestic violence on Tuesday, Zulkifly said women who denied their husbands sex were subjecting them to psychological and emotional abuse.

Speaking to FMT, Marina said the MP was proving that marital rape was a problem in Malaysia. Read more

Should the Domestic Violence Act protect cohabiting couples?

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 ― Two civil society groups said the latest amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1994 should have covered cohabiting couples who suffer abuse at their lovers’ hands.

Sisters In Islam (SIS) and Women Aid Organisation (WAO) said relying on the Penal Code for cases as such was insufficient as it did not provide protection like the Act does.

“The law should be able to give a blanket protection to all domestic violence survivors and acknowledge that dynamics between married spouses are similar regardless of their marital status,” SIS told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday. Read more

Rape culture alive and kicking in Malaysia, says women’s rights group

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Rape is a real threat to women and girls – it's not a joke, says women’s rights groups the world over. – EPA pic.

Rape is a real threat to women and girls – it’s not a joke, says women’s rights groups the world over. – EPA pic.

THE recent incident of a rape “joke” by local college freshmen that went viral on social media further underlined the fact that rape culture was very much prevalent in Malaysian society, a women’s rights group said today.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said rape culture in society became evident when threats of sexual harm were dismissed as merely “jokes”.

“Rape culture is the way society and social institutions normalise and permit rape.

“This includes blaming the victim and excusing the perpetrator. Every statement that threatens sexual harm to a woman must be taken seriously. Rape culture enables men to make rape threats – and minimises them as ‘harmless jokes’, Sumitra told The Malaysian Insight through WhatsApp. Read more