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The Johor Women’s League (JEWEL) invited Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz to mark International Women’s Day 2016 with a public talk titled “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality”.

Rafidah expressed her views on gender barriers at the workplace and reminded women to change their mindset and that they are not merely filling up quotas.

“We want women to be treated and given equal opportunities based on merit and not because of a quota system. We should stop talking about the 30% quota for women as it is demoralising and demeaning,” she said.

“Before, women in the government services who graduated alongside their male counterparts were given temporary jobs while the men got permanent positions. This also led to women being paid less.

“But all this has now changed in the government over the years but we have to make sure this does not happen in the private sector,” she stressed.

Rafidah also pointed out the simple fact that women must take charge of their families, a simple leadership role within ones’ immediate circle of people that can help shape the future, adding that she admired women who decide to become full time housewives.

“Nowadays, children go astray as some parents do not make time for them. They are raised by their maids,” she said, adding that there is no point in being a company’s CEO if your family is in shambles.

“We need to stress on the importance of having integrity, honesty and being trustworthy.

More than 200 guests attended the talk, among them were Datin Musalma Mohd Saman, Chairman of Perkep, Former Johor Deputy Police Chief, Dato’ Aishah Mohammad, retired Johor Deputy Police Chief, Mohd Ali Taib, Director of Johor Women’s Development Department Yang Mulia Gusti Puteri Retno Astrini.