500 at Swedish Gender Equality Seminar in KL

Approximately 500 people and special dignitaries were at the opening ceremony of the Gender Equality seminar on 5 June 2006 jointly hosted by the Embassy of Sweden and the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development in Malaysia. Interestingly, the majority attending were women!  
Sweden brought in two experts to help Malaysia towards a higher level of gender equality and to give ideas to be used in Malaysia’s upcoming bill on same. Ms. Gertrud Astrom who is Enquiry Chair, Inquiry on Gender Equality Policy and Special Advisor on Gender Equality Mr. Dennis Kuliman from Stockholm County Administrative Board were the main Swedish contributors especially flown in for the occasion.
The Finnish Ambassador HE Lauri Korpinen was also seen at the opening ceremony together with other members of the diplomatic core. Here it’s worth noting that Finland have recently also been helping Malaysia towards gender equality by donating money to produce a manual on sexual harassment in the job market. 
The actual opening address by the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development YB Dato’ Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil took many by surprise when she referred to her own feelings upon her return from earthquake stricken Indonesia the day before. She almost suggested that Malaysia concentrate more on poverty eradication than on gender equality! However, she also stressed that Malaysia has been working and will continue to working on gender equality and that the seminar was a welcoming hand in the work laying ahead.

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