Thursday, April 25, 2013

Malaysian Women in Politics

DAP's Hannah Yeoh is standing for re-election in the Subang Jaya state seat. Check out her ceramah In Bandar Sunway’s PJS7 on April 21, 2013:

Yesterday, she was in Subang Jaya’s SS15 where she and other PR colleagues gave another ceramah to an appreciative crowd estimated to number about 3,000. I was there and I can vouch that the field that hosted the political talk was overwhelmed by the massive crowd.

Yeoh is one of DAP’s twenty-two women candidates representing 12.3 percent (from a total of 178 women aspirants standing for Parliament and state) with BN parties contributing 39.9 percent, PKR (16.9 percent), PAS (14.0 percent) and Independents (16.9 percent)  who are contesting in GE13. Altogether, a total of 579 and 1,321 candidates will battle it out for both the parliamentary and state seats and women make up only 9.4 percent! This is far below the 30% allocation for women designated in the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women which Malaysia has signed and promised to implement.

Prominent women's rights activist Marina Mahathir told Malaysiakini that the low number of women election candidates was disappointing. She said, "The trouble is, at heart, none of the political parties really believe in gender equality".

"What women bring to the table is valuable, as valuable as what men bring and maybe even more so, because what women most care about is their families and their communities, which are the centres of any society".

"You do right by families and you'll do right for the whole country," Marina stressed.

 In fact, Indonesia has recognized this and in 2008 established a quota of 30 percent for women’s participation as candidates and in the top leadership of all political parties. If our neighbor can do it, why can’t we?

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