Media Statement in Conjunction with International Women’s Day



8th MARCH, 2022

Institut Masa Depan Malaysia would like to take this opportunity to wish Happy International Women’s Day 2022 which falls today, with the theme “Gender Equality Today for Sustainability Tomorrow”.

For this year, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) has chosen “Break the Bias” as its theme in line with the goals outlined under the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (WKB 2030) to raise awareness at all levels of the society on the importance of achieving gender equality in Malaysia.

The United Nations (UN) which officially recognized International Women’s Day in 1977, also adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), an important international agreement that outlined women’s rights. Malaysia, in its pursuits of protecting women’s rights, signed the CEDAW in 1995.

The UN hosted the Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development and Peace from 4th to 15th September, 1995 in Beijing, China. From this conference, a 1995 Beijing Declaration and Action Plan was agreed upon and adopted by all member states. The declaration has been regarded as the most progressive framework of action ever adopted to advance women’s rights.

In line with the Fifth Thrust of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, the International Women’s Day is celebrated each year as a form of appreciation and recognition of women’s significant and meaningful contributions and services in national development. It is also in line with MASA’s commitment to uplift the dignity of women who represented 48.62 percent of the Malaysian population and form the backbone of families, the basis of which forms a nation.

Based on the Malaysian Gender Gap Index (MGGI) 2020 score released by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Malaysia is ranked 74th out of 156 countries in the world.

According to the report, women’s achievement was very commendable in the education sub-index, with a score of 1.059 while the health and life sub-indexes recorded a score of 0.956. However, in the economic opportunity and participation, the score recorded was only 0.738.

The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) involving women in the country is also still low at 55.3 percent in 2020, against other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore (69.7 percent) and Thailand, at 66.8 percent. Meanwhile, political dominance recorded the lowest score of 0.100, indicating the huge gap on the involvement of women in politics.

Based on the statistics by the Public Service Department (PSD) in 2020, only 38.2 per cent of female civil servants holding the positions of JUSA C and above were involved in decision-making process. In the private sector, women representatives in the top 100 public-listed companies (PLC) board of directors (BOD) currently stands at 25.8 percent.

Towards this, MASA is of the view that it is time for the government, along with other stakeholders, to start focusing on elevating and recognizing the position and contribution of women fairly to be on par with their potentials.

The KPWKM Strategic Plan 2021-2025 which focuses on protecting the rights of the vulnerable, including women, can be used as a catalyst towards achieving this goal.

The Labour Force Survey 2020 released by DOSM stated that although more male workers were likely to be laid off than women (60 per cent against women 40 per cent) during the COVID-19 pandemic, there were, undoubtedly, more male workers than women in the working sector.

Taking into account the pandemic which has had major economic and social impacts at home and abroad, MASA believes that a holistic and inclusive approach should be formulated and implemented by the government to particularly address gender stereotypes in education, employment and family.

MASA hopes that policies and strategies, with focus on gender inclusion, especially the involvement of women at decision -making level will be given priority for gender equality in Malaysia and to improve transparency and good governance to ensure national harmony.


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