MARCH 22 — After too many accusations, allegations and misinterpretation regarding International Women’s Day March in Malaysia, someone stood up in Parliament and spoke about it courageously.
On Thursday, YB Kasthuri Patto in her speech mentioned that it was an International Women’s Day March. That is the fact which shall not be altered. The march calls for various remarkable demands; demands that the voice of women who suffered from violence and discrimination in this country be represented. They asked to stop all kind of violence based on gender, total ban of child marriages and to ensure dignified minimum wage of RM 1,800 for everyone.
Unfortunately, the media failed to do justice on them.
Instead of highlighting the demands, we glorified the presence of LGBT groups who marched alongside with them while ignoring the fact that other representatives were there as well. For example, women from Sarawak demanded for equal access to maternal health care while representatives from Orang Asli women demanded for equal access and control over their land and resources.
Unfortunately, no one knows about their presence. No one knows about their demands. All we know is that, the march was attended by LGBT groups. Some of us went beyond by saying that it was a LGBT march!
Let’s admit it. The truth remains untold because we want to sell our stories. We want to get thousand of likes and RT’s on social media. We want to be instant famous by exploiting the LGBT group, make their presence as a big issue to overshadow the whole purpose of having that march. Now we know how easy it is to silence the real voice who needs our help and attention by magnifying the presence of one group that will attract intense debate and reaction from people.
We have to applaud the courage shown by YB Kasthuri to give the real fact of the march. It is a women’s march and it always will be.It is all about women and their demands for better lives.
Is it so hard for us to recognise the women’s demand? Or are we afraid to recognise that they deserve a better social status in this country?
Despite all the false image given by the media to us regarding the march, it is my hope that the demands will be taken into consideration by the Government and not be dumped simply because the demands were made in conjunction with the International Women’s March Day which were attended by various groups including Orang Asli and LGBT.
The demands reflect the voice of women in our country. If we choose to silence it, then we choose to silence their voices. If we choose to ignore it, then we choose to ignore the issues relating to our women in this country.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.