Women shouldn’t be mere ‘quota fillers’, says Rafidah

Former minister Rafidah Aziz says women should rise based solely on merit. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Gender equality goes well beyond mere numbers in terms of opportunities for women to advance in their careers, said former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz.

And any quota that is less than 50:50 between women and men cannot be considered fair, she said at a luncheon talk titled: “What gender equality?” organised by the English Speaking Union of Malaysia at the Royal Selangor Golf Club, here, today.

Rafidah said in gender equality, what’s more important was the qualitative aspects rather than the numbers.

She said women should not be regarded as mere “quota fillers” just because of their gender, but more importantly, they should be selected because they were equally or better qualified.

Giving an example, she said when discussing gender equality, it was wrong to say that two plus two equals four without taking into account the qualitative aspects.

“Two plus two is not four when only one of the four is of good quality while the other three are rotten,” she said.

Rafidah said it was also wrong to adopt a mindset that there was a glass ceiling that prevented women from achieving gender equality, or that to have more women filling certain quotas, they would have to meet the standards of men.

The predominantly women audience at the talk gave Rafidah a rousing applause when she said: “We women are better than men!”

Nevertheless, she said women, on their part, should not demand something that they did not deserve but to rise based solely on merit.

“We, women should be the best that we can be in terms of credibility, competence, skills and ability,” she added.