PAITAN: Efforts towards gender equality can be achieved through the initial step of understanding or awareness of gender and gender perspectives by various layers of society.
Community Development and People’s Well-being Minister, Datuk James Ratib said gender equality is the responsibility of all parties, starting from small units in the family up to large units in government administration.
“The government has indeed paid attention to gender issues in this country such as creating various efforts to mainstream gender equality so that women’s progress can be enhanced, along with progress among men.
“Efforts like this will give equal space and opportunity to women to progress and be involved in development just like men.
“In connection with that, appreciation should be given to the Sabah Women’s Affairs Department (JHEWA) for continuing to work hard to promote gender programmes in order to provide awareness, sensitivity and understanding about gender issues among the community,” he said.
He said this while officiating the Gender Mainstreaming Programme in Rural Development, Paitan District held at the Open Hall, Paitan Subdistrict Office on Monday.
James who is also a Member of the State Legislative Assembly (ADUN) N.48 Sugut said that a total of 300 participants attended the programme involving JPKK Chairmen, Village Heads and Chinese Community Leaders in Paitan District.
He thanked the Director of JHEWA Sabah, Hajah Haslina Ismail, for choosing the Paitan district as one of the districts to host the gender programme in 2023.
“Well done and congratulations because on the initiative of JHEWA Sabah with Paitan Subdistrict Office, UPPM N.48 Sugut and other agencies involved for joining hands to make this programme a success.
“I feel excited and happy to see the talented trainers who show high commitment because in addition to performing their duties in their respective departments, they also help the department to empower gender sensitivity,” he said.
According to James, in the 12th Malaysia Plan, Sabah is still prioritising the development of gender experts which is the training of ‘train the trainers’ (TTT) trainers in addition to implementing the gender sensitivity programme as held on Monday.
“A programme like this should be used as an annual programme to give exposure to gender needs in development because it is this group that will be responsible for helping top leaders in matters of rural development, especially involving village community affairs in terms of infrastructure development, social activities and so on.
“Thus, the initial exposure of this gender concept, I believe will give new experience to all the leaders here,” he said.
He added that it is hoped that leaders take this gender concept with an open mind and not be extreme in the government’s efforts to ensure that the unity and understanding of the people is maintained.
“I also hope that those who have followed this programme are more sensitive to the need and importance of gender-based infrastructural development so that the harmony and unity of the multi-racial community is always preserved,” he said.
In addition to this gender programme, James said that there is a skills course for single mothers and B40 women, which is a bakery course that has lasted for 3 days since March 18, 2023 until Monday.
“A total of 25 participants of the course also participated in the programme today. Congratulations and well done to the organisers for their initiative in the development of women in Paitan district.
“This course is very beneficial to the women of this district because it can give them the opportunity to venture into the bakery field. The women can start a business from home by accepting orders from family, friends or local residents or nearby.
“Hopefully the skills course participants who are single mothers and B40 women will be able to start their own business and generate a steady income and then maybe open their own business premises,” he said.