Women in Malaysia
The double dividend of gender equality
Empowering Women in Malaysia
Achieving gender equality and empowering women are necessary to achieve social, economic and political development.
Today, girls and women continue to benefit from health and education services with women surpassing men in enrolment and academic achievements in many situations. Women in Malaysia are also more actively involved today in politics and numerous other national initiatives.
Malaysia’s commitment and dedication to the advancement of women is evident in many of its programs and policies in the last two decades.
§ In 1985, the Government of Malaysia formulated the National Policy on Women as a guide for women’s participation in the development process. The Policy helps enhance women’s quality of life by overcoming challenges through poverty eradication and education.
§ The stature of women became a primary objective of the 6th Malaysia Plan (1991 – 1995), where a special fund for the development of women became a significant and integral step towards empowering women in Malaysia. Subsequent Malaysia Plans continue to focus on the needs of women with recommendations to advance their position in society.
§ By agreeing to the commitments set forth in the Beijing Platform for Action at the UN Fourth World Conference on Women (1995), the Government promised to 1) enhance the national machinery for women's advancement; 2) increase women's participation in decision-making; 3) safeguard women's rights to health, education and social well being and 4) remove legal obstacles and gender discriminatory practices.
§ In 1995, the Government also ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
§ In 2001, the Government created the Ministry of Women and Family Development with a mandate to address issues on women and uplift the stature of women in the country.
§ Malaysia’s Constitution was amended in August 2001 to prohibit discrimination in any law on the basis of gender.
The Government continues to play a crucial and supportive role in achieving greater gender equality in the country, by providing a healthy environment for the advancement of women at both national and international arenas. The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development which is responsible for addressing women’s issues in Malaysia has had its budget increase from RM 1.8 million (US$ 0.5 million) in 2001 to RM 30.5 million (US$ 8.6 million) in 2005, demonstrating the country’s serious commitment to the cause.
Future challenges to be considered include: addressing the continued poverty among female-headed households; combating violence against women; raising the effectiveness of gender mainstreaming strategies; reducing women’s risk of contracting HIV; removing attitudinal challenges that impact capacity-building; and raising the level of women’s participation in the labour force, in business and in politics and government.
Source: Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development..............................................................................................
SOWC 2007 - Women in Malaysia Speak Out!
UNICEF in Action - Malaysia