Putrajaya to draft bill on gender equality

Minister Rohani Abdul Karim says the bill will address issues such as job segregation and unequal pay.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government plans to draft a gender equality bill to balance the roles of men and women in the nation’s development, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim.

She said the proposed act aims to bridge gender inequality between women and men by incorporating Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw) principles in Malaysian laws.

“Phenomena such as low involvement among women at the leadership level, stereotyping and job segregation in professional fields, unequal pay, women’s hierarchy in society and so on will be addressed by the legislation of this act,” she said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat.

She was replying to a question by Normala Abdul Samad (BN-Pasir Gudang) on the development and action taken by the ministry in drafting the gender equality bill.

Rohani said the legislation would help eliminate discrimination and uphold equality as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

She said the drafting of the act was still being discussed with various stakeholders to ensure all views would be taken into account.

She said the ministry had also held a workshop last year aimed at discussing the rationale of enacting the Gender Equality Act and providing an understanding of the proposed bill.

The workshop involved agencies under the ministry such as the Social Welfare Department, Women’s Development Department, and National Population and Family Development Board besides external agencies such as the Economic Planning Unit, Attorney-General’s Chambers, foreign ministry and NGOs.

Her ministry also held a follow-up session with the foreign ministry, Attorney-General’s Chambers and NGOs on Mar 29. A series of further discussions will be held this year involving all government agencies, states, Parliament’s women’s caucus, NGOs and stakeholders, she added.