Women to be given equal chance to excel – minister

Stephen (fifth from right), Jannie (fourth from right) and Dr Tarsiah (sixth from right) flanked by the speakers and presenters at the Conference on Gender Inclusiveness and Equality.

KOTA KINABALU: Health and People’s Wellbeing Minister Stephen Wong has promised the highest commitment to address the gender inclusiveness and equality issues in the State.

“I believe gender perspectives have to be adopted in all development agendas,” he said at the closing ceremony of the Conference on Gender Inclusiveness and Equality held yesterday.

He assured that he would bring matters related to women in decision making to the higher level meeting of the State.

It was learnt that the Sabah government only had 10.6 percent women holding decision making positions last year.

The media was also informed that only five to six women held important decision making posts at government-linked organisations in Sabah.

According to Stephen, women should be given equal chance to excel.

Meanwhile, Assistant Law and Natives Affairs Minister Jannie Lasimbang said that it was now time to allow women to hold the position of ketua kampung or village head in Sabah.

She explained that the appointment of the respective village heads was under the prerogative of the state assemblymen/women.

She added that the position was traditionally given to men.

Sabah Women Advisory council chairperson Datuk Dr Tarsiah Taman said that the council hoped there would be a marked improvement in the near future for more women to hold decision making roles.

Dr Tarsiah also said that the council had developed an interactive module to address the increasing rate of young marriages (18 years old and below).

She cited that this was a first in Malaysia and with the collaboration of the Sabah Education Department, the council had conducted the training of trainers for 300 school counselors for schools within the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu.

“In the next few months, we will be conducting an awareness and advocacy programmes among parents and community leaders in addressing these young marriages,” she said.

She said that the council was also preparing an index on the wellbeing of women in Sabah, which is also a first in the country.

“We will conduct surveys among at least 2,000 women respondents all over Sabah, in order to produce the results of the findings, before the year-end. By next year, every woman can find out what will be her well-being index, and thereby can inspire her to do better,” she said.

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