Sarawak is well-known for its ethnic diversity – there are over 28 different ethnic groups in the region. Each has its own language, history and cultural significance. This diverse heritage means that the area has a rich tradition of arts and crafts. From bead work and textiles to wood carving and the weaving of rattan and bamboo. This cornucopia of local hand crafted items has ensured that traditions are handed down from generation to generation. The skills, talent and heritage of the people of Sarawak will never be lost.
Since its establishment in 1981, the non-profit and non-governmental Women’s Aid Organization (WAO) has been fighting to create a society in which women can be free of the threat of violence. The WAO sets the promotion of equal rights for women in Malaysia as its primary goal, and hopes that respect, protection, and self-determination would one day be the public domain of all Malaysians, men and women alike.
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Vodacom Head Talks about Feminine Challenges in the Industry
Mwamvita Makamba is the executive head of the business development of pan-African Vodacom. According to Makamba, women working in the telecommunications industry in Africa are facing major challenges because of gender discrimination.
Misconceptions lead to gender inequality
According to Mwamvita Makamba the problems begin as early as the school years. Girls are not being made aware of career options in fields like mining, construction, engineering or telecoms. From a young age girls believe that so-called 'feminine' careers like nursing, administration or teaching are their only options. There is also a tremendous misconception that ICT requires physical strength and women are not able to work in this field. Because a career in the telecoms is typically assumed to be a 'man's job', far fewer women work in the industry. Not to mention the severe lack of females holding positions of power. Makamba reports that after working in various roles at the Vodacom Group over a period of six years, she has hardly seen any women in boardrooms.
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British actress and ardent women's rights activist Emma Watson believes that it is not only the responsibility of women to fight for their equality, but that men also have a special duty to fulfil when it comes to combating gender bias. Watson's deep regard for the feminine plight in a world of gender inequality led the young performer to start actively campaigning against discrimination.
Not only women are discriminated against because of their gender. The often violent discrimination against transgender males has been prevalent throughout Malaysia for many years. Until now the unfortunate individuals have had no legal recourse. On the 7th of November 2014 the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) gladly received a recent ruling by the Malaysian appeal court. The judgement asserted that it is unconstitutional that it is considered a criminal act for transgender women to cross-dress.
According to the Global Gender Gap Report of 2014 Muslim countries govern the bottom ten spots. Sadly, not a single Muslim country is in the top ten countries offering equal opportunities. Predominately Muslim countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Birkina Faso, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire and Yemen are not only considered focal points for violence against women; these countries are also of the worst in terms of school attendance rates. There are reasons behind these poor statistics.