In Women’s Day march, hundreds gather to demand end to patriarchy

The march saw social activists and people of diverse backgrounds carry placards, flags, and banners. ― Pictures by Shafwan Zaidon
The march saw social activists and people of diverse backgrounds carry placards, flags, and banners. ― Pictures by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — More than 200 Malaysians took part in a march here today calling for greater women’s rights, cheerfully chanting for the “death of patriarchy” in the hot midday sun.

The close to 1-km march, which saw social activists and people of diverse backgrounds carry placards, flags, and banners, spanned from the Sogo shopping mall to Sultan Abdul Samad building.

It was aimed at protecting the rights of women and minorities.

With colourful artwork, placards paraded today championed issues including defending the rights of the LGBT community and regulating sex workers.

“No outfit is an invitation for rape,” one banner declared. Another stated, “men of quality do not fear equality.”

The five official demands of the march were for the end violence based on gender and sexual orientation; end of child marriages; the protection of the rights and freedom of women to make choices over their own body and lives; a minimum wage of RM1,800; and the destruction of patriarchy.

The march included participation from groups such as the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Sisters in Islam (SIS) and political party Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM).

People take part in a march in conjunction with International Women's Day in Kuala Lumpur March 9, 2018.
People take part in a march in conjunction with International Women's Day in Kuala Lumpur March 9, 2018.

Activist Majidah Hashim said the attendees reflected the diversity of issues affecting women.

“We are pleased by the turnout today.

“The demands of the march are not new. They reflect a long standing and deeply systematic issues affecting women in Malaysia,” she told Malay Mail.

PSM central committee member S. Arulchelvan said the march was successful as various groups were involved and had spoken at the rally.

“The freedom of expression by so many groups was good and empowering.

“Some of the demands are quite fair, though some controversial. But it is about time, such as recognising and regulating sex workers, the LGBT rights these are the things we need to address,” he told Malay Mail.

Women’s Day is celebrated each year on March 8.

* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.

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