The constant championing and call for gender equality by Women Activist Groups do not necessarily mean to equate the status of women with men in all fields. In fact, it is more likely of the missed opportunities in areas concerning economy and education. This situation ought to be addressed so as to ensure that it does not become a barrier for women to achieve advancement and success.
Hence, to further enhance the understanding of the issue, the School of Law, College of Law, Government and International Studies (COLGIS) Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) organised an Intellectual Discourse programme entitled , "Feminism In Government: Creating The Future Leaders" at the EDC-UUM Hotel recently.
Former Malaysia International Trade and Industry Minister, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz was the guest of honour who was invited to speak and share her thoughts on the topic to students of the Bachelor of Philosophy, Law and Business (PLB [Hons]) programme.
According to Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz often matters regarding women’s working environment, unfair treatment at work place, obsolete law, public opinion of women as well as the women’s own attitude are some of the causes which might have hindered women's progress in economic and social fields.
She illustrated her point with a story about her own experiences when she ventured into politics in the 1970s. She also reiterated that hindrance could also come in forms of societal views of women, as well as the attitudes of women themselves who possess low self-esteem.
"Women need to change their mind-set which often portrays them as being weak. Women need to stop saying "but" as well as stop giving excuses for not doing something to change their lives for the better," she said.
She also expressed disagreement with the quota system for women that was created to enter certain sectors. In her opinion, women should not be "filler quota" in any field instead they should be assessed based on merits.
She also touched on the necessary qualities of leaders regardless of the sex.
"Quality Leaders are disciplined in various aspects, diligent, must possess integrity, honesty, have the ability to think across border, be open-minded and able to take charge when the time requires them to do so.
Towards the end of her speech she added that to produce future leaders, the nurturing begins at home with parents and family members.
Translated by Mahaliza Mahadhir
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