You know, in events or talks like these, my faith in humanity just rises. Hey guys, I am about to give you a quick summary or a throwback for those of you who attended this event. It all started when my friends who are the Wom*ns Affair Officers, got my attention to attend this talk right here regarding gender equality and feminism. It was on a Thursday, 9th August. Being a huge feminist myself, I thought why don’t I give this a shot?
'I will always be a feminist' - Ivy Josiah
This day made me realize that the battle for gender equality has been going on for decades now. We had the honour of having two influential and powerful women in Malaysia, who have been fighting for equality for more than 20 years. Those two women are YB Maria Chin and Ivy Josiah.
First up, was Ivy Josiah. She addressed the sexual harassment women face on a daily basis. From a minor thing like catcalling up until domestic abuse, she covered it all. Ivy mentioned that the law for women’s rights is clearly flawed as domestic abuse is seen as a personal matter and not a crime. In fact, she also mentioned that objectification becomes a part of a woman until she passes. Every part of a woman is objectified and even sold. She also asked the audience “Who in this room has been sexually harassed before?” The amount of people raising their hands to this question does not surprise me at all. It clearly shows how much Malaysians need to evolve, mentally. It is a devastating truth. The world may be much more modern and women are allowed to do so many things compared to previous decades, but, the horrid truth remains that women will be constantly objectified and seen as sexual objects no matter where they go.
'It is important to teach your sons to respect women' - Ivy Josiah
She also stated that permission is necessary, also when she says NO, men have to understand and respect her wishes. Ivy clearly made her talk interesting and relatable to her audience. She made few quirky and witty statements about rape culture. People assume that men get enticed when they see women wearing “revealing” clothes or make up even. Ivy suggested to lock men up since they can’t control themselves. TOO BAD! She also mentioned that it is important to accept everyone, which she was referring to the LGBTQ community.
Ivy Josiah captured our attention with her sarcastic, witty and factually correct speech while YB Maria Chin had more of a serious undertone. She made her speech based on her political experience more than social experience. As a woman in politics, it was difficult for her to be in the same race as almost 90% of male politicians. She had to make twice the effort for gender equality because of a. her gender and b. her religion. She’s constantly fighting for women’s rights during trying times.
She also stated how child marriages are still accepted in this country, and the law says otherwise. It is not okay for a parent to let a child get married to a man who is three times her age. YB Maria has been in the politics game for far too long and her patience and effort is commendable. The authorities and other politicians used to not take as seriously as other male politicians. However, she rose through the ranks and look where is she now! Speaking of power and authorities, she mentioned the most basic gender inequality which occurs in our schools. Yep, schools. Your head prefect is always a man. Why is that still being implemented in this day and age?
They also held a Q&A session which had some interesting questions. As an audience member, I was too tempted to ask a question. However, there was not enough time and frankly, people seem to want to engage far more than expected. They also mentioned to encourage sex education because as it turns out Malaysians are quite clueless when it comes to sex ed. Did you know along with teen pregnancy, we also have a high rate of STDs amongst us? Clearly, Malaysians need more information on safe sex and health.
If you ask me, I had an amazing time. It is informational and most importantly,you learn that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We fight the same battle each and everyday. I get called snobby just for being myself and correcting sexist behavior but hey, it’s not you whose at fault, its them and their mentality. You guys know that phrase innocent till proven guilty? Apply it everywhere, because you never know what that girl or guy has been through. We have no right to blame anyone for any tragedies until we know who’s at fault.
Till next time. XOXO.