Women’s Development Dept says sorry after tips for women amid MCO slammed for sexism

Zurairi Ar
On the subject of educating one’s spouse on doing household chores, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry advised wives to adopt a 'Doraemon-like' tone and giggle coyly as opposed to 'nagging'. — Facebook screencap

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Women’s Development Department has apologised today for a series of posters advising women on how to behave amid the movement control order (MCO) over the Covid-19 outbreak.

The department under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said it has spread positive daily tips and messages on social media with the theme #WanitaCegahCovid19 (women curbing Covid-19) to share information with the public.

“We are sorry if some of tips shared were inappropriate and touched on the sensitivities of some parties, and we will be more careful in the future,” its director-general Datuk Saidatu Akhma Hassan said in a statement.

The department also said that it is taking the approach to share methods and practices to sustain positive relationship within a family while women are working from home.

Women’s rights groups and members of the public have condemned the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and its minister Rina Mohd Harun over the awareness posters seen as politically incorrect.

The groups warned that the message conveyed through the posters titled “Kebahagiaan Rumahtangga” or “Household Happiness” could worsen gender stereotypes and to a certain extent encourage domestic violence.

The ministry had yesterday released a series of posters on social media, with one directed at mothers working from home.

The poster appeared to stress the importance of one’s appearance, advising work-at-home mothers to “groom as usual” and always look neat.

In a subsequent poster on ways to educate one’s spouse on doing household chores, to presumably avoid quarrelling, wives are advised to adopt a “Doraemon-like” tone and giggle coyly as opposed to “nagging”.

Three of the four problematic posters have since been taken down from the ministry’s social media accounts.

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