KUALA LUMPUR- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says women must be treated as equals not only at home but in the office and everywhere else.
The Prime Minister said there was no denying that women - known for their determination, commitment and compassion - were the backbone of the nation.
All the successes the country enjoyed today could not have been attained without their participation, he said.
"We must treat women not only as an equal but with respect everywhere and at all times, be it at home, office and even inside lifts.
"Women are a force to be reckoned with," he said to applause from guests who packed the Putra World Trade Centre for the Women's Day celebration. The theme this year is "Respect Women: Society Flourishes".
When Najib talked about the "lifts", it was obvious to the audience that the PM was referring to the incident in which a man was caught on camera assaulting his wife inside a hospital lift in Bukit Mertajam.
The man pleaded not guilty in a magistrate's court on Aug 16 and the case is set for mention next month.
Najib said the accomplishments made by women were something to be proud of, citing that between 2009 and 2011, the number of women who enrolled in public universities for degree courses was over 65 per cent. This year, 68 per cent or 41,573 women obtained places in universities.