‘MALAYSIA STILL FAR BEHIND’
It was ranked 106th out of 144 countries in last year’s World Economic Forum report
MALAYSIA was ranked 106th out of 144 countries on gender gap in the World Economic Forum report published last year. The report which measures the gap between men and women across four key areas, including health, education, economy and politics revealed that Malaysia is far behind in terms of gender equality compared to the Philippines (seventh), Singapore (55th), Thailand (71st) and Indonesia (88th).
According to Khazanah Research Institute (KRI), the low percentage of women’s participation in the economy was identified as one of the main reasons for the high gender gap in the country.
KRI in its report stated that the labour force participation rate (LFPR) — which measures the proportion of the working population of those aged 15 to 64 who are currently employed or are actively looking for employment — showed that almost half of the working-age women in Malaysia were not in the workforce compared to less than 20 per cent for men.
“While LFPR for women in Malaysia has improved over the years, it has been trailing far behind the men since the 1980s.
“In 2015, LFPR for women stood at 54.1 per cent compared to 80.6 per cent for men,” KRI stated in its report dated March 6.
It said the unemployment rate for women in Malaysia, especially among university graduates, had consistently been higher than men for the past three decades except for 1999, and the gap had been growing in recent years.
“By regional and international comparison, the gender gap in terms of unemployment is significantly more pronounced in Malaysia. What is more worrying is when we look deeper into the education area.
“In 2015, tertiary-educated women had the highest unemployment rate at 4.3 per cent. The trend for men, however, is reversed. Those with no formal education are the ones with the highest unemployment rate,” it said.
KRI said the situation was alarming considering that women constituted about 70.3 per cent of enrolment in universities.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister ’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri urged married women to gain new skills, which would allow them to earn an income and also focus on their families.
“I urge women to equip themselves with skills that would enable them to gain a side income from online businesses. They can learn to bake cookies, make handicrafts, or sew,” said Nancy at a meet-and-greet session with women in the public transportion industry in conjunction with International Women’s Day at the Pusat Bandar Damansara MRT station here.