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What More Do Women Want? Malaysian Women Take To The Streets For A Better Future

These five things, to begin with.


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What More Do Women Want? Malaysian Women Take To The Streets For A Better Future

A day after International Women's Day, activists and feminists from all over Malaysia are planning on marching in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu to demand for a more gender-equal Malaysia. 

The march, organised by a loose coalition of several non-governmental organisations, cooperatives and individuals, will be start from Jesselton Point, Kota Kinabalu and Sogo, Kuala Lumpur on 9 March. 

Women in Malaysia have been marching for gender equality for decades, and this year, the theme is "End violence, repect women!". 

If you're one of those who ask "Aiyooo. What else women want?", here's a list of things women are demanding for immediate action on during the march.

1) End gender-based violence 

Women and LGBTQ community are a lot more vulnerable to gender-based violence

From home to the outside world, women are more likely to fall victim to gender-based violence.

In Malaysia, child marriages and marital rape are still 'legal', people who are abused by a partner whom they are not married to don't get the kind of protection they need and sexual harassment law is not yet passed.

When it comes to these issues and more, women and girls (including transgender women) are often the victims and more needs to be done to protect them. 

The recent case of a theft in an MRT station where a woman was brutally attacked and robbed was a wake up call to many regarding the risks and danger women face, especially, in public spaces. 

Since November last year, and at least three transgender women have been killed in what the police termed as hate crime.

The numbers of those who've been attacked, physically or otherwise, by others who can't accept their 'differences' are also high. 

2) Ban all child marriages

Statistic of child marriages in Malaysia
The issue of child marriages is not new in Malaysia.

Every time a story of a much older man marrying a child is covered in the news, outraged comments and calls for the ban of child marriages can be heard; only for the noise to gradually disappear after awhile. 

Not this time. Advocates for the ban of child marriages are taking to streets to call for the ban, without exceptions. 

3) Ensure the rights and freedom for women to do whatever they want with their bodies

My body, my right
The policing of women's bodies, from what they wear to whether or not they wish to have a child, is up for discussion and everyone seem to have an opinion on it.

The narrative that women should wear clothes and act in ways that'll keep men from sexually harassing or raping them is problematic in so many ways.

Not only does it put the responsibility and blame on women, but is also an insult to men who are perfectly capable of respecting women. 

Speaking about other ways women's bodies are policed will need a whole new article, so we'll save it for later. 

4) Ensure dignified minimum wage of RM1,800

In ringgit, not dollars. But dollars would be great too.
According to a recent expenditure guide released by the Employee Providence Fund (EPF), Belanjawanku, an unmarried Malaysian who do not own a car needs a minimum of RM1,870 to have a 'reasonable standard of living'. 

That is to say, if you want to have a roof over your head, eat OK, have money for travels, hang out with friends occasionally and still have a little bit of savings, that is how much you will need. 

Unfortunately, the minimum wage in Malaysia is still at RM1,100. That's way lower than what's said to be needed by a single person. Can you imagine living with that wages if you have a family?

5) Destroy patriarchy and build genuine democracy at all levels of society

Smash it!

Despite promises by the Pakatan Harapan party to have a cabinet that comprises of 30% women, we still have less than that percentage of women ministers and deputies in our cabinet. 

If you're even thinking about asking if there are even enough 'qualified' women to hold the posts...just stop. You can't say feminism is no longer needed because women have achieved equality and still question their qualifications. 

Besides, if that wasn't your first question about male ministers *coughs* *Ketapi* *coughs* *Maslan*, then why is it that the question comes up so often when it comes to women? 

Of course, that's just on political level. Gender equality issues everywhere needs to be addressed and it has to be tackled from all angles. 

You can join too!
If you believe in gender equality and wish to support these demands, make your own placards and march with others who are fighting for the cause in Malaysia.

Make sure you follow the guidelines in the image above to ensure a safe and smooth march. 

Details of the march are as follows:

Date: 9 March 2019
Time: 8.00 am (Kota Kinabalu)
          10.00 am (Kuala Lumpur)
Meeting point: Jesselton Point, Kota Kinabalu
                        Sogo, Kuala Lumpur


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