Penang exco hails new state post for gender equality

Bagan Lalang assemblyman Chong Eng says a gender inclusiveness policy is something that can be done in every state. (Facebook pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The introduction of a specific portfolio covering gender inclusiveness is a step in the right direction, the state executive councillor in charge of the portfolio said today.

Chong Eng, who was sworn in today as the state women and family development, gender inclusiveness and non-Islamic religious affairs committee chairman, said the portfolio would help push for gender inclusiveness to be made into policy.

“I feel that from the beginning, we have had the Penang Women Development Corporation (PWDC) and have been carrying out gender responsive budgeting, so I think we are now moving.

“Now we realise that, through experience, this can be made into policy. So, whenever you want to build a hall, a field, a stadium or a school, you should go through such a process (gender responsive budgeting) to ensure it is gender inclusive,” she told FMT.

Gender inclusiveness means that services, establishments, schools, practitioners and government agencies, among others, are welcoming of all, regardless of their gender.

Chong, who is Bagan Lalang assemblyman, said for the last five years, the state’s gender responsive and participatory budgeting (GRPB) had been very inclusive in terms of gender, as well as matters concerning the old and young.

GRPB links communities, agencies and all levels of government and bridges the gap between service users and service providers.

She said these days, fields and playgrounds were not gender or age inclusive, citing examples of how children’s playgrounds were for those 12 years old and below, and how there were no playgrounds for other age groups.

“It is likely that we will make it a policy that every public community programme, or building of facilities, should be inclusive.

“For instance, if you are building a public hall, you need to know who is using the hall, what is the population in the area, how many women and men, how many elderly people,” she said.

Chong said a gender inclusiveness policy was something that could be done in every state.

“Nationally, we can share this experience with other states. I hope to work with the federal government on this.

“I am willing to share my experience on women development and gender inclusiveness with all Pakatan Harapan (PH) states,” she added.

Chong, together with nine other PH assemblymen, were sworn in as state executive councillors yesterday before Penang governor Abdul Rahman Abbas.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow aside, seven of the state exco members are from DAP, while three are from PKR.

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