Our statement on the series of posters posted by the Malaysian Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development was published on Borneo Post dated 1 April 2020.
The recent posters that were published in social media by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development seems to be proof that they have a very male-centric mindset. This is sad, considering that this is a ministry that is supposed to be upholding the rights of and helping women.
Society for Equality, Respect And Trust for All Sabah (SERATA) is disappointed with how the ministry seems to be making light of the seriousness of domestic violence. Their messaging through the posters seems to indicate that domestic violence can simply be solved by looking, sounding and behaving like pretty little things. They also indicate that the work in raising a family is a burden to be shouldered by women, and women alone.
We are concerned that if KPWKM continues on this trajectory with their messaging, they may produce a slew of men who think that it is permissible to be abusive to their wives if they don’t follow this “standard” of behaviour.
Women are already doing the majority of household duties and childcare, which are unpaid work, while also providing financially, whether through formal or informal means. According to a report by Khazanah Research Institute, women do twice as much of this unpaid work compared to men. While we are all restricted from leaving homes, shouldn’t the ministry be encouraging everyone in the family to share the load? This would be the perfect time for them to finally learn to do things together.
The competence of people within this Ministry is highly questionable after they fired two highly important NGO members who work with marginalized groups at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is even more so after the assistant minister has publicly indicated her support for child marriages.
We would like to remind the Ministry that the issue of women’s human rights are no easy matter, and they should consult with proper gender experts with their recommendations.