KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Almost eight months after it was first announced, Malaysia and Australia co-hosted a gender policy dialogue here yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said at the announcement in August last year that gender is a key priority for both countries.
At the launch, Deputy Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Hannah Yeoh said, “The dialogue brings together Australian and Malaysian experts, to exchange perspectives and experiences on gender policies and efforts to promote women’s empowerment.
“Both governments have recognised gender equality as a priority — it is important for the economy, and it is important for the sort of society we want to live in.”
She added, “Everyone should think about what small, practical steps can be taken. It’s not just about legislation, because legislation without awareness and mindset change will not be effective.”
The event was co-organised by the Australian High Commission and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Malaysia, with the assistance of the Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Human Resources.
Among the topics covered at the sharing sessions were the elimination of violence against women, increasing women’s labour force participation and economic empowerment of poor and rural women.
At the close of the one-day dialogue, Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Andrew Goledzinowski said, “This dialogue has highlighted the importance of working together. Progress on gender equality requires collaboration across government agencies, as well as with the private sector and civil society.
“I hope this dialogue will also open up new channels for co-operation between Australia and Malaysia. I believe there is great potential to learn from each other.”