It was ranked 106th out of 144 coun­tries in last year’s World Eco­nomic Fo­rum re­port

New Straits Times - - News - MASRIWANIE MUHAMADING KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

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.

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