State Museum to publish book, hold exhibition on women history

Joanna (third right) and her staff promoting the exhibition.

Joanna (third right) and her staff promoting the exhibition.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State Museum will be publishing a book entitled ‘Women History in Sabah’ and launching an exhibition called ‘Women in History’.

Its director, Joanna Kitingan, said the book would most likely be published next year.

She disclosed at a press conference yesterday that the contents of the book will include photographs that have been taken in the early 1900 by G.C. Woolley as well as those of other photographers.

The purpose of publishing the book is to allow those interested in women development in Sabah to learn more about the topic, said Joanna, adding that the book will also serve as a reference material.

“Much of the contents were written during the British colonial era,” she said.

Joanna elaborated that not many people know about the roles of women in society in the olden days. She added that both men and women played equal roles and that women had a voice alongside the men during tribal meetings.

She also mentioned on the role of women as ‘Bobolians’ (priestesses) and lamented that now, not many people are aware of what the ‘Bobolians’ are.

“Women in those days have been praised for their intelligence and wisdom. We should be proud of them,” said Joanna.

The exhibition on August 28 will last until the end of the year. It is jointly organized with the Women’s Affairs Department.

“It will showcase the roles and responsibility of women during the colonial period, as well as their contributions and roles in social, economic, cultural and political development of Sabah,” she said.

Joanna said the objective of the exhibition is to appreciate women’s roles in family, society and country, while creating awareness among the younger generation on the sacrifices made by women in the past.

Apart from that, the exhibition aims to disseminate information and raise awareness about women’s struggles for equal rights, she said.

“Nowadays, women not only have the initiative to change their lives, but they are also transformation catalysts within many fields,” said Joanna.

She mentioned that in the olden times, women were involved in various circumstances as explained in ‘The Dusuns of North Borneo’ book, where women were tasked to look for wood and water, and to cook food for the family.

“Led by the Sabah Women Organization (SAWO), women in Sabah are struggling for equal rights. Their continuous efforts have significantly raised the dignity of women in Sabah,” she said.

She also said there are many prominent women that have contributed greatly to Sabah and Malaysia in general.

The exhibition will be officiated by Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Ahmad Ayid.