There is a pressing need for men and women to come together to address the issue of violence against women worldwide.
Federal Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, said Saturday, both genders must collaborate in efforts to end all forms of violence against women.
Speaking to Daily Express from Salt Lake City, United States, at 2am (US Time), she said the world today is still witnessing sexual crimes against women such as rape and the growing incidence of domestic violence.
"As far as these offences are concerned, generally, there is no indication of decline. Men must come to the forefront to help combat such perpetration of crime. Don't let women fight this phenomenal problem alone," she said.
Dr Ng is in the United States to attend the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting in conjunction with International Women's Day.
At the meeting, the Minister said Malaysia has a legal framework in the form of a Domestic Violence Act for the protection of women. "However, one of the challenges is the issue of alimony in divorce cases."
She also expressed concern over the rising incidence of HIV/AIDS among women in Malaysia. "In 1990, only 1.6 per cent of the total victims in Malaysia were women but today, the figure has soared to 16 per cent."
She stressed that men and women must take responsibility for this scenario.
Wishing all women in Malaysia "Happy Women's Day", Dr Ng said International Women's Day is to celebrate Malaysia's recognition of the status of women. She advised them to brace themselves for the effects of the global economic slowdown.
At this juncture, she urged women to take advantage of the two courses for women, organised by the Women Development Department (JPW) under her ministry. These are the House Manager Course and Home-based Childcare Course which were launched in Kuching last Saturday.
"I hope women will consider the opportunity to participate in these courses. We are offering them for women who cannot afford to attend such courses. We want women to upgrade their living skills to improve the quality of their lives. Home-based childcare is a means of economic support towards achieving financial independence."
Those interested may approach the nearest JPW Office in the respective states.