Coalition wants ministry to apologise for Doraemon advice

  • The Borneo Post
  • 9 Apr 2020

KUCHING: The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has called on the federal Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD) to unconditionally apologise for the Women’s Development Department’s (JPW) now infamous e-posters asking women to wear make-up at home and speak like Doraemon to please their husbands.

In a press statement yesterday, JAG expressed deep disappointment, frustration, and concern over the “grave missteps of the ministry and the department”.

“The ministry’s response to the backlash is merely a conditional apology for offending the ‘sensitivities’ of certain quarters, which sadly shows its total failure to understand how gender stereotyping in society can demean women.

“We call on the ministry to issue an unconditional apology over the content of JPW’s e-posters, which is not only offensive but also has far-reaching implications and consequences to women’s dignity and well-being, and to ensure that all the MWFCD’s public communications henceforth steer clear of such pitfalls,” said JAG.

The group pointed out that given the current Covid-19 crisis, many countries are witnessing an alarming trend of a global spike in domestic violence directed at women and girls, as warned by the United Nations Secretary-General.

“In Malaysia, there is still no announcement to help abused women and children nor, for instance, any kind of policy to support poor women who are expected to be more vulnerable in times of crisis.

“We wish to remind the MWFCD that Article 5 of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), ratified by Malaysia in 1995, requires our government to take all appropriate measures in order to eliminate discriminatory stereotyping of sex roles between women and men,” JAG said.

The group called on the ministry to step up and provide the necessary leadership which women, families, and communities need to get through this crisis and beyond.

“It includes valuing women’s unpaid care work, recognising their vulnerability to genderbased violence and economic hardship in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, and so many other pressing issues that deserve our time, a ention, and practical solutions,” said JAG.

Also endorsed by 27 other civil society organisations, the statement said JAG recognises that the overwhelming circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement control order (MCO) have made it difficult for civil society to engage meaningfully with the ministry.

“We therefore urge the MWFCD to initiate such engagement, especially with women’s and children’s organisations, as soon as practicable in order to explore constructive ways forward for the empowerment of women, families and communities, in line with the government’s existing obligations to promote women’s human rights and gender equality as enshrined in United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and our Federal Constitution,” said JAG.

JAG is a coalition of 14 women’s rights organisations in

Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak.

The organisations are Women’s Centre for Change (WCC), Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Sisters in Islam (SIS), Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower), All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Perak Women for Women (PWW), Association of Women Lawyers (AWL), Justice for Sisters (JFS), Tenaganita, Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG), Sabah Women’s Action-Resource Group (Sawo), Sarawak Women for Women Society (SWWS), Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS), and Knowledge and Rights with Young People through Safer Spaces (KRYSS).

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