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MP SPEAKS | This year's theme for International Women's Day #ChooseToChallenge reflects the current global landscape.

Women still face the challenge of gender bias, a longstanding issue, but they now have to also face the challenges of the new norms in relation to conventional roles.

For most working mums, working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic generally means balancing a career, looking after the husband who is also working from home, and juggling children who are studying from home.

Housemakers must adapt to change to be technologically advanced to help and monitor their children.

Women are challenging traditional norms to bring about change for the better. Women are also frontliners.

The new norms have forced them to face challenges in relation to family life and work as the pandemic has forced them to spend long periods apart from their loved ones.

Some of these women have even lost their lives in the fight against the pandemic.

As we celebrate these women and laud their achievements, let us not forget to also raise awareness about injustices that mainly occur against women.

These include domestic abuse as the new norms bring about frustrations, despair and not forgetting the assault on mental health.

Malaysia must push to enact laws to defend women - laws that have been drafted and discussed but yet to be realised and put into practice.

Let's champion our women who are either our mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and friends.

Let's choose to challenge and bring about change for a more inclusive and better world.

Happy International Women's Day!

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

Former Deputy Prime Minister,

Member of Parliament, Pandan

March 8, 2021

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Malaysiakini is running a series of articles from March 8-10 in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021. Read more here.

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