Irene: Gender equality not a reality, yet


Gender equality in Malaysia is still some way off from becoming a reality, said women rights NGO Tenangita’s executive director and founder Dr Irene Fernandez.

Speaking during a gender equality forum held at Universiti Malaya (UM) recently, she said that there is a perception that gender equality and non-discrimination of women has been achieved in Malaysia.

“We have changed the constitution to place in gender discrimination, sixty per cent of those in universities are women, so many ask, what are we still grumbling for?” she said.

“But we have the longest working hours, we are still somewhat controlled in our homes,” she added.

“There is the perception that we in Malaysia had solved all the problems pertaining to gender inequality, but this forum is to exert that such a perception is far from the truth.”

The forum is part of a series of forum about gender equality run by Tenaganita along with Equal Rights Trust (UK).

The forum last Saturday was run with the theme- ‘Same same But Different’, and was held in conjunction with the International Women’s Day on March 8.

Irene also paid tribute to many women who helped mobilize the women rights movement in Malaysia, while at the same time crediting the many ‘unseen faces’, referring to those who have suffered abuse and other forms of discrimination.

Tenaganita champions the rights of migrant women workers, who now form half of the migrant workers population in the Asian region.