KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 -- The media should play an outstanding role in shaping public opinion on gender equality and strengthening the society to overcome gender stereotypes in Malaysia.
Communications and Multimedia Ministry (KKMM) secretary-general Datuk Suriani Ahmad, in highlighting the fifth Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicator on gender equality and women empowerment, said women were often under-represented and portrayed as unimportant in the media.
"When women appear in media, they are portrayed as sex objects, homemakers, victims of violence and conflict. And they become front-page news when they are engaged in activities which are not in line with society's prescriptions of what women should and should not do.
"So these are the things that we need to improve in the future whereby women should be highlighted as good leaders and managers, and also focus on those involved in more challenging industry for example in oil and gas, engineering and construction sector," she said at the final plenary session on SDG 5 : Unlocking Women's Full Potential at the Malaysia SDG Summit 2019 here today.
Suriani added that according to a survey by Ipsos Malaysia in 2018, the top three issues faced by Malaysian women were sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexualisation of women in the media.
“So let’s put gender as everyone’s agenda and promote inclusion by disrupting the norms,” she said.
The media should also adopt and enforce a gender policy and guidelines for gender-sensitive reporting.
“Media must be sensitive towards women’s issues and act as a tool to foster gender equality and furnish the society with information that all humans have the same rights regardless of gender, age, colour and religion,” she said.
In September 2015, all 193 member countries of the United Nations (UN) unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its implementation framework, where the SDGs chart in detail the way forward to ensure a future that is sustainable for people, planet, peace and prosperity. It is to be achieved through a spirit of partnership between the government, private sector and civil society.
The 2030 Agenda is the most transformative and ambitious plan ever crafted by the global community with 17 goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators that balance the economic, social and environmental pillars of development.
The two-day summit, which was opened by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday, carries the theme Accelerating Progress on the SDGs: Whole of Nation Approach, and will contribute ideas and strategies to move the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development forward and energise partnerships through the whole of the nation approach in attaining the SDGs.