QuickCheck: Did Malaysia’s first female Cabinet minister start Women’s Day here?

QuickCheck: Did Malaysia’s first female Cabinet minister start Women’s Day here?

TUN Fatimah Hashim was Malaysia’s first female Cabinet minister, known for championing women’s rights in the country. Did she initiate Malaysia’s annual Women’s Day?



Yes, Tun Fatimah Hashim started the ball rolling on our country’s Women’s Day celebrations, observed annually until today.

Born on Dec 25, 1924 in Muar, Johor, Fatimah became the first woman in Malaysia to be appointed to the Cabinet.

A teacher by profession, she served as Welfare Minister for four years between 1969 and 1973, based on her profile from the National Archives of Malaysia website.

An interesting fact about Fatimah: She held a class for illiterate adults at her own house to help them read.

She was also the president of the National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), which aims to protect women’s rights in Malaysia, for 24 years.

As a girl, she studied at a boy’s school in Parit Kurma because there weren’t any schools for girls available at that time where she lived, according to the Merdeka Award website which named her as an award recipient in 2009.

She started her career in politics in 1947 and joined Umno, later leading Wanita Umno for 16 years from 1956 to 1972.

In 1962, Fatimah initiated Malaysia’s National Women’s Day celebrations, according to the website.

“Fatimah was a great believer in education, and although she did not enjoy the opportunity to further her studies, she always fought for progress in that area.

“In 1995, she was Pro Chancellor of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“In 2000, the university awarded her an honorary doctorate in Education,” read the website.

In 2009, Fatimah was given the Merdeka Award, which recognises individuals and organisations for their contributions to the nation, in the Education and Community category.

She passed away in 2010 at her home in Kuala Lumpur due to old age at 85.