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Let’s Talk about Gender Equality

Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2016 — Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) is hosting a series of four gender equality talks in conjunction with the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign.

16 Days of Activism begins on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November, and culminates on Human Rights Day, 10 December. Throughout the campaign, communities across the world take action to end violence against women and girls.

“We join the chorus of activists worldwide, advocating for gender equality. We want to raise awareness about women’s rights at home and at work,” says WAO Executive Director Sumitra Visvanathan. “Many women in Malaysia experience domestic violence, sexual harassment, and workplace discrimination. We need to talk about this.”

The series of talks will be held at 1-2pm on consecutive Wednesdays: November 16th, 23rd, 30th and December 7th. The talks be will held at “RUANG by ThinkCity”, 2 Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur (for directions, go to

The November 16th talk, “How to Intervene in Domestic Violence,” features writer Bernice Chauly, domestic violence survivor Fadilah Nizar, and WAO Advocacy Officer Natasha Dandavati.

Meanwhile, the November 23rd talk, “Know Your Rights: Seeking Justice for Domestic Violence” will be conducted by WAO Advocacy Manager Yu Ren Chung and ASP Ellyia Ullfah from the Sexual Crimes and Crimes Against Children Unit of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

The November 30th talk, “Respect My Bump: Pregnancy Discrimination,” will be led by WAO Communications Officer Tan Heang-Lee and Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin, who won a landmark court case on pregnancy discrimination.

“WAO recently conducted  a survey, and we found that 40% of pregnant women had been discriminated at work. We will discuss what women can do if they experience pregnancy discrimination,” says Tan Heang-Lee.

Finally, WAO Executive Director Sumitra Visvanathan will conduct the December 7th talk, entitled “Sexual Harassment at Work.”

“This series of talks goes hand-in-hand with WAO’s broader advocacy initiatives,” says Sumitra.

“To address pregnancy discrimination, we are currently advocating for better legal protection for working women — specifically, through a Gender Equality Act. We also recently launched a public awareness campaign entitled “I Know Her”. Our message is that domestic violence is not a private family matter, but a community problem and a crime. We are urging bystanders to reach out to domestic violence survivors,” adds Sumitra.

“The 16 Days of Activism is a great platform to engage the public on these issues and to mobilise support for women’s rights,” concludes Sumitra.

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