Malaysian Woman Reaches for the Stars

Roshini Muniam innocently entered a contest sponsored by Axe deodorant to be sent to a space camp in Florida, USA to train to become an astronaut. To become eligible for the space camp, contestants went through a series of challenges, testing their mental strength and endurance. The top five contestants were posted to Facebook, and the contestant with the most votes would win this great opportunity to train to become an astronaut. Her resolve was strong and it seemed as if luck was on her side, but Malaysia was not. Her simple entry turned into a fury of sexist remarks, from Malaysian males, believing that she was not worthy to be an astronaut because of her gender. Many of the comments suggested that because of her gender, Muniam was less capable and worthy of this opportunity. Others simply poked fun at her gender. Regardless of the manner, the sexist comments persisted, but many saviors of the internet defended Muniam. They rightfully defended her abilities and believed that she was fully capable to represent Malasia.

Discrimination against women in Malaysia, as in the majority of the world, is rampant, with men and women. Many believe that women are less capable because of their gender, and in some cases even less deserving of equal rights as well. Malaysia’s government seems just as reluctant to respect women, with MP Dewan Rakyat making sexist comments during heated debates regarding a leaky roof back in 2007. He was noted as saying, “Where is the leak? The Batu Gajah MP also leaks every month.” While he was compelled to apologize, his reaction is no less shocking and show how ingrained sexism is in the world, that world governments feel that using it is a viable option.

Despite the outrage of a women becoming an astronaut, the internet showed a great feat of solidarity and boosted her votes far beyond any of the other contestants, ensuring that Muniam would win. The contest ended this past Tuesday, September 17, 2013, with Muniam in the lead. While her victory in this contest is secured, how does this reflect on the international communities’ idea of women? Should governments do more to ensure that women are treated equally and are not discriminated against? Do you feel women are getting proper recognition in the international stage?

One comment

  1. There is undeniable discrimination against women on the international stage. It was great to read about the support that Roshini received and that she was able to win the contest. However, it was disheartening to read about the discrimination and the ridicule that she received for entering the contest. It is disappointing to hear that the notion that women are less capable because of their gender is still endorsed in today’s day and age. However, as Roshini’s story shows, it is the sad reality of some international communities’ idea of women. There are parts of the world that are trying to ensure equal treatment for women. For example, South Korea has relatively recently elected the country’s first female president. However, there are far more parts of the world that still endorse the idea that women are less capable because of their gender. Governments can do more to ensure that women are treated equally. However, I believe a bigger role can be played by people and society as a whole moving forward as well.

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