Posted: 08 Mar 2013 06:25 AM PST
It might not change the world but it's a good start. Capital FM celebrates International Women's Day with roses.
I DON'T think women receive enough flowers," says Lynette Ow, general manager of Malaysia's pioneer women's radio station, Capital FM. Lounging in the lobby of Menara Star in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, yesterday, Ow – who arrived with a troop of effervescent radio personalities like Xandria Ooi, April Kuan and Deborah Raj – was on a mission to distribute dozens of red roses to women to mark International Women's Day 2013.
"We want to remind women to take a little time off to collect their thoughts. They need to realise that they are women, they are powerful and they are ultimately the true 'architects' of society," says Ow.
This idea of giving flowers as a symbol of appreciation was fostered by the people behind the station. Kuan, host of Global Passport and Jazzscapes every weekend, says that International Women's Day is important because it reminds all women how far they've come. "We're still taking baby steps but the progress we're making is evident," enthuses Kuan. She was among those who handed out the flowers, complete with memorable quotes on girl power, to the beaming female staff in Star Publications.
"It's such a sweet gesture from my colleagues," says June Wong, managing editor of The Star. "As someone who has covered women's issues for a long time, International Women's Day is a vindication of our struggle throughout the years. Not only do we have to struggle for equality, we also have to struggle against being pigeonholed. You're either a feminist or a bimbo – that should stop."
While Wong acknowledges that women in Malaysia have it easier than those in other countries ("we never had to fight for the right to vote or to be educated," she says), she adds that there are other issues that need to be addressed. "There are certain arcane laws that we've inherited since the colonial era that need to be abolished," she says. "Also, with the coming general election, women play very important roles."
Kuan agrees. She says: "Unequal wages is an issue that's close to my heart. Time and again, we've proven that we're equally capable, so why shouldn't we get paid what we deserve?"
Capital FM, which is owned and operated by The Star, will continue to present women with flowers today at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur – look out for the flash mob organised by The Body Shop and Women's Aid Organisation (WAO).
At the same time, there is also an online campaign called Power Pouts, which invites the fairer sex to end violence against women.
"All they have to do is just put on the brightest red lipstick, take a picture and share it on our website (capitalfm.com.my)," says Ow.
Not only that, the station will be lending its support to UN Women, a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women and girls, by launching a song entitled One Woman. Sung by acclaimed singers and musicians from 25 different countries (including our very own Yuna), One Woman is a rallying cry that inspires listeners to join the drive for women's rights and gender equality. Yuna will, incidentally, be interviewed on the subject at 7am today.
But it's not all fun and glamour, though. Deborah Raj, who hosts Capital FM's The Jam Break, reminds readers that "a lot more work needs to be done".
"Violence against women shouldn't be happening in this day and age but it is. Many of these women can't do a thing about it, but we can," she says. Raj will be interviewing marathon runner Karen Loh for Jam Break. Loh is the perfect example of a woman who can do anything – even change the world – if she puts her mind to it. "She started in her late 30s," she says. "If she can do it, anyone can."
Meanwhile, other stations from The Star Radio Group will also be featuring interesting shows in conjunction with International Women's Day.
Red FM will run women-only competitions and share IWD messages from women like Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, Daphne Iking, Sharifah Amani, Mizz Nina and Jay Menon.
Chinese radio station 988 will be celebrating women in the new Morning Up breakfast show for a week.
On Suria FM, Ceria Pagi with Adibah Noor and Halim Othman will be talking to first-time female movie directors.
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