To Boldly Change the Game (e/c)

TO BOLDLY CHANGE THE GAME : AN INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MESSAGE BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG, MR LIM GUAN ENG 8 MARCH 2017

On this day, the 8th of March 2017, I am proud to represent the State Government of Penang in honouring International Women’s Day in the spirit of the international theme for this year, “Be Bold for Change”, and the related local (state-level) theme of “Game Changer”.

The state government is proud in striving towards the empowerment of women. In terms of political achievements, I note with pride that 2017 has seen a marked increase in the number of women appointed to as local councillors in Penang. In January 2017, a total of eight women or 33% of all 24 councillors were appointed to the Penang Island City Council (MBPP), and three women (12%) to the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP), raising the total representation of women in both councils from 12% last year to 23% this year. Also significant is the mandatory requirement of at least one woman member in every Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampung(JKKK) in order for it to be allowed to come into operations.

Socio-economically speaking, Penang women’s labour force participation rate is at 59.0%, which is 5 percentage points ahead of the national average of 54%. Penang is also tremendously proud of its first class talent among its homegrown sportswomen : Dato’ Nicol David, arguably the most decorated player in the history of women’s squash; Low Wee Wern, three-time Asian Junior Champion in squash; wushu world champion Chan Lu Yi; and the bright young archer Nur Naseha Rusli . Other cultural achievements by women in Penang include our very own teenage star singer, Jeryl Lee Pei Ling, who was among the six finalists in the Sing! China finale in October 2016.

As much as we celebrate these achievements, International Women’s Day is also an occasion to remember how much further we have to go. The Global Gender Gap Index for 2016 places Malaysia at 106 out of 144 countries, with the biggest gaps existing in terms of political empowerment, followed by economic participation and opportunity.

Such long-standing gender inequalities call for bold measures of redress. What can we individually and collectively do to “change the game”?
The Penang State Government sees gender mainstreaming as a bold and essential game changer. Much of this is achieved through the transformative work of the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) which is funded RM1.5 million annually by the state government.

Through PWDC’s Gender Responsive and Participatory Budgeting (GRPB) Programme, local governments institutionalise participatory decision-making measures on resource allocation, addressing citizens’ needs in a way that is sensitive to gender and other social concerns.

Last but not least, I would like to point out a very important “game changer”, and that is the role of men in making a difference towards gender equality. We need more men to speak up for gender equality, whether in the home, at the workplace, or in public spaces. In other words, I am proud to be a #GameChanger, and I invite you to join me today.

LIM GUAN ENG

—– Mandarin Version —-

勇于改变游戏规则:槟州首席部长林冠英国际妇女节献词
2017 2017年3月8日

就在2017年3月8日今天,我倍感光荣地代表槟城州政府庆贺国际妇女节。今年的国际主题是“勇敢的改变,而州的主题则是“游戏规则改变者”。

州政府对于能赋权予妇女感到光荣。在政绩上,我所知道的是2017年槟城的女性市议员人数增加了。在2017年1月在槟岛市政厅24名市议员当中共有8名女性获委任为市议员,占了33%;威省市政局则有3名女性市议员占了12%,让两岸女性市议员人数从去年12%增加至23%。另一个重要的规定就是每个乡委会(JKKK)必须至少委任一名女性委员,以便让它能更顺利运作。

以社会经济的角度而言,槟城女性的劳动参与率为59%,比起全国的54%还要高出5个百分比。槟城也感到十分自豪,因为我们拥有世界一流的女性运动员,诸如拿督妮柯大卫,她亦是女性壁球史上拥有最多头衔的选手;刘薇雯,三届亚洲壁球青少年公开赛冠军;武术世界冠军曾露奕;出色的年轻射手努娜瑟哈。除此之外,在文化艺术上拥有杰出成就的李佩玲亦为我们争光不少,她在2016年10月时曾勇闯《中国新声音》六强。

在我们为这些优秀的成绩而欢呼之际,国际妇女节提醒了我们,未来还有很长的一段路需要匍匐前进。2016年全球性别差距指数显示,马来西亚在144个国家当中排行第106,其政治赋权上落差最大,接着是经济参与和机会。

这种长期存在的性别不平等,亟需大胆地作出补救及改善。做为个人与集体,我们可以做出什么来“改变游戏规则”呢?

槟州政府认为,性别主流化是改变游戏规则中不可或缺的重要一环。于是,州政府每年注资150万令吉予槟州妇女发展机构,让有关机构肩负这项变革的工作。

透过槟州妇女发展机构推行的性别回应及参与式预算计划,地方政府制度化让更多的人来参与决策,决定钱要怎么花。这个过程中会有更多的角度,如性别等社会观点,让最后的决策可以符合民众的需求。

最后,我要指出的是,想改变游戏规则,让性别平等可以落实,我们需要更多的人为性别平等站出来发声,在家里、职场以及公共空间上不断倡导性别平等。而我,欲骄傲地成为改变游戏规则的人,欢迎大家今天起也加入我的行列。

林冠英

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