Gender Parity Still A Distant Dream

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A recent conference organised by the Good Governance and Gender Equality Society (3GS), a Penang-based NGO, examined the mainstreaming of gender issues. Despite great strides made in granting women equal opportunities, legal efforts to close the gender gap have hardly made a dent in our persistently patriarchal society.

Sticky floor, glass ceiling

Achieving gender parity in Malaysia seems to be a far-off goal for a conservative Asian society which has traditionally espoused a “men over women” mindset. Societal expectations of women have remained stubbornly stereotypical despite increasing latitude granted to women in all fields.

Whilst women comprise 62.3% of undergraduate degree holders in Malaysia, female labour force participation only stands at 45.7%. Due to the shortage of affordable care facilities, many women quit working post-marriage or after childbirth. Those choosing to return to work are not exempted from the traditional role of being primary caretakers of families, notes Loh Cheng Kooi, executive director of the Women’s Center for Change (WCC).


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