Home Civil Society Voices SIS and Musawah launch report on Malaysia gender equality

SIS and Musawah launch report on Malaysia gender equality

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Sisters in Islam (SIS) and Musawah have launched the first comprehensive research titled “The report on Malaysia’s progress and commitment to achieving sustainable development goal 5: gender equality“.

The launch of the report was officiated by Bukit Bendera MP Syerleena Abdul Rashid from Penang.

Commissioned by SIS and Musawah, this report seeks to inform where Malaysia currently stands in eliminating discrimination against women and girls through existing legal frameworks and mechanisms and to achieve gender equality in areas such as marriage, family and workplaces.

The report is also the only report to be published globally, making it the first of its kind to raise awareness of Malaysia’s current standing and provide an in-depth assessment of the legislative system and policies in place that enforce and promote equality and non-discrimination based on indicator 5.1.1 through 45 key questions developed by the UN.

The report highlights several key gaps in practices of gender equality and eliminating discrimination against women in Malaysia, including a lack of detailed gender statistics, a lack of direct or indirect laws to protect women against discrimination, and concerns that government authorities do not have jurisdiction in gender-related matters involving religious authorities.

Hence, to address these gaps and to raise awareness, the report explored four key areas: overarching legal frameworks and public life; violence against women; employment and economic benefit; and marriage and family.

Measured through indicator 5.1.1 and the 45 key questions developed by the UN, the report found that alarmingly, from 2018 to 2020, Malaysia has shown completely no progress in the four areas.

Among the issues that have shown no progress, according to the report, include:

  • citizenship of children born outside of Malaysia to Malaysian mothers who marry foreigners; while we see the Malaysian cabinet agreeing to amend Article 15(2) of the Federal Constitution recently, actions to amend this article have yet to be taken
  • marital rape that has not been criminalised in Malaysia
  • child marriage that is still happening in Malaysia, despite having only two states, Selangor and Kedah, raising their minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys
  • the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act that is still not yet enforced despite receiving royal assent in October 2022

These issues and the lack of progress don’t bode well for Malaysia in achieving the goals to not leave anyone behind, given that there are only seven years left to realise the UN sustainable development goals overall by 2030.

Even though goal 5 on gender equality is a goal on its own, the impact of this goal cuts across the other 16 sustainable development goals. Thus it is critical that the government and all relevant stakeholders address the indicators of goal 5 in order to ensure that Malaysia is not left behind globally.

Additionally, Malaysia is experiencing a huge gap according to the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum released in 2022. This report benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps among four key dimensions (economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment) and tracks progress towards closing these gaps over time.

The 2022 report showed that Malaysia was ranked 103rd out of 146 countries on the Global Gender Gap Index. Among Asean countries, Malaysia ranks in the bottom three.

Therefore, this report is pivotal for all stakeholders, including the government, civil society organisations, researchers and academicians, as it provides a critical tool for effectively measuring and tracking Malaysia’s progress towards gender equality and to galvanise all stakeholders to take concrete actions to improve women and girls’ lives in Malaysia and achieve gender equality.

*Download the report on Malaysia’s progress and commitment to the sustainable development goal 5.1.1 here.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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