Women have played an important role in Malaysia’s history. The mainstream narrative of the nation’s history and memory however are often “his” story where women’s contributions and experiences have largely been left out and absent in our national narrative.
To understand the Malaysian story is to appreciate not only our women leaders, pioneers and winners but also the everyday women from our past. We celebrate the significance of figures such as Cik Siti Wan Kembang, Rose Chan and Mother Mangalam Iyaswamy Iyer, we also commemorate everyday women by highlighting their stories and experiences.
Through this we honour the diversity of the life histories of our foremothers who in their own ways have contributed towards the formation of our nation. Their stories are varied; some are of trials and tribulation, others are of feats and accomplishments. Some are stories of bravery and altruism and others are stories of day-to-day life. All these stories allow for a more comprehensive understanding of what makes us a nation today.
An attempt to recover and revisit women’s history is not about creating an alternative story rather to complement and expand our knowledge of how Malaysia came into being. Without women’s history the history of a nation is incomplete. Here on Sejarah Wanita we commemorate women’s contribution and reinsert ‘her’ story into our history.