Now’s our chance to vote out gender discrimination, thanks to Noorfadilla and Justice Zaleha Yusof.
In July 2011, the Shah Alam High Court in Malaysia made a landmark decision in the case of Noorfadilla Ahman Saikin. In that case, Noorfadilla was unable to work as a temporary teacher because her employers withdrew the accepted offer due to her pregnancy. Many arguments were put forward by her lawyers. One of them was the violation of her constitutional rights under Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution as she was discriminated on the ground of gender due to her status as a pregnant woman.
Among other reasons, it is groundbreaking because the learned judge held that the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to which Malaysia acceded in 1995, has the force of law in Malaysia. She also used the definition of ‘discrimination against women’ in CEDAW to interpret our Constitution.
I’ve nominated Noorfadilla for an award in a competition run by Women’s Link Worldwide. It’s a non-profit international human rights organisation with the aim of ensuring that gender equality is a reality around the world.
The organisation runs an annual competition called the Gender Justice Uncovered Awards. The awards were created to highlight the fact that in every country, regardless of its political system, culture or religion, what its judges and courts say have tremendous influence on the sense of justice as well as the day-to-day lives of its peoples.
The awards highlight, among other things, decisions by courts which have a positive or negative impact on gender equality. These decisions include those related to sexual and reproductive rights, gender violence and gender discrimination. The most sexist decisions will receive ‘Bludgeons’ while the best ones that promote gender equality will receive ‘Gavels’.
Here is the link where you can read more about the awards and vote for Noorfadilla!
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(Featured image accompanying article on main page courtesy of Mando Gomez, source: www.flickr.com/x/t/0095009/photos/mandolux/1571114869/)