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

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia's Women’s Development Department apologised on Tuesday (March 31) for a series of posters advising women on how to behave amid the country's movement control order (MCO) to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

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

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

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

The department under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry said it had 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 relationships within a family while women are working from home.

Women’s rights groups and members of the public condemned the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and its minister Rina Mohd Harun over the awareness posters, which were 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 could encourage domestic violence to a certain extent.

The ministry had released a series of posters on social media on Monday, 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, wives are advised to adopt a “Doraemon-like” tone and giggle coyly as opposed to “nagging”, presumably to avoid quarrelling.

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

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Malaysia Covid-19 coronavirus gender feminism women

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