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The ‘rape joke’: Are we anywhere nearer to gender equality?

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In April 2021, a secondary school student, Ain Husniza, complained about her teacher’s rape joke.

The reactions to it – from her classmates right up to the deputy inspector general of police – show that a culture of toxic masculinity is present in Malaysian society. Many people in authority treat violence against women in the classroom as usual and trivial.

These incidents in the education arena are an insult to the constitutional equality protected by the supreme law and give a staggering picture of gender inequality in Malaysia. Indeed, Malaysia still does not have an effective sexual harassment law to protect women and men from unwanted harassment.

This forum, organised by the Democracy Academy of Malaysia and Sisters in Islam, analyses the root causes of the culture of toxic masculinity. The speakers contribute ideas for addressing structural factors and moving towards substantive gender equality in the country.

Panel members:

  • Ivy Josiah, former executive director, Women’s Aid Organisation
  • Rozana Mohd Isa, executive director, Sisters in Islam
  • Yuenmei Wong, gender equality consultant

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