Put women in winnable seats, says rights group

PETALING JAYA: Women’s rights organisation Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) today hit out at both sides of the divide over the political representation of women in the coming polls.

In a statement, the group said female candidates needed to be placed in winnable seats if political parties were serious about the healthy participation of women in politics.

It criticised Terengganu Menteri Besar Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, who was reported as saying earlier this month that Barisan Nasional (BN) would place women candidates in seats lost to the opposition in the 2013 general election.

“(This) demonstrates a lack of understanding about the issues faced by women electoral candidates,” it said, adding that Razif’s statement was “disheartening”.

The group said despite the promises by both BN and Pakatan Harapan in their manifestos to serve the best interests of women, such efforts remained “tokenistic”.

So far, it said, only 53 women candidates had been nominated for the 222 parliamentary seats while 116 had been nominated for the 505 state seats.

“The nominations for women candidates from all parties combined comprise only about 23% of the total candidates listed. This is surely a far cry from the 2030 Agenda or the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender Equality, or the TN50 aspirations,” it said.

It said its demand in its women’s manifesto for all parties to nominate at least 30% women candidates for state and federal elections had been disregarded.

“Political will to strengthen women’s decision-making power in this country appears to be too weak on all fronts,” it added.

“Women make up about half the population in Malaysia. Women should make up half our leaders.”

Click here to get live updates throughout the GE14 season