Voon: Nation’s progress reflected in women’s progress

Voon Shiak Ni

KUCHING, March 8: There is still much for Malaysia to do to increase and strengthen women’s participation and empowerment in the country.

In a statement released in conjunction with International Women’s Day which is celebrated on March 8 annually, PKR national women’s vice-chief Voon Shiak Ni quoted the saying, “when women rise, the nation will rise”.

“The theme for 2018 is ‘Press For Progress’ and we would like to see more efforts and programmes be put into action by the government of Malaysia and the related ministries to enhance women’s participation, to empower women and to open up more opportunities for women, and to live up to the political will to achieve at least 30 per cent women’s participation in the decision-making process and in positions at all levels.

“We call for more efforts and political will from all quarters to bridge the gender equality gap,” she said.

Voon pointed out that in the 13th general election (GE13) in 2013, there were only 168 female candidates nationwide, representing 23 per cent of the total candidates standing for election, and that presently, there is only an average of 11 per cent female representation in state assemblies and Parliament.

With GE14 around the corner, she asked how many women candidates would Barisan Nasional (BN) field in Sarawak.

However, Voon also paid tribute to men who had worked hand-in-hand with women to bridge the gap in gender parity, equity and equality.

“It is true that everyday can be a women’s day as the world celebrates their achievements and contribution to society of our women every day in their roles as great homemakers or career women and to mention also, a great number of them are community and social workers who help to bring warmth and peace to the people around them.

“As the world celebrates women today, we would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to our male counterparts who are there to work hand-in-hand to bridge the (gap in) gender parity, equity and equality.”

She noted that although many countries had shown efforts to accord opportunities in terms of access to education and job opportunities to women and girls but it remains a fact that it will still take a long time for women to get there.

“It will take another 200 years as shown by the findings of the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report to close the gender parity gap.

“Of course, things will not happen if we do not have support from our male counterparts and all quarters of society including the efforts and political will of the authority and government of the day to be more gender inclusive and it is an initiative which equates to the respect and recognition for the women in your family and around you.”

Voon also took the opportunity to wish all women around the world a happy International Women’s Day 2018. — DayakDaily