Archive for the ‘Gender Gap’ Category

The fight for gender equality must go on

Monday, March 9th, 2020

MARCH was supposed to be a month of promise for women. The proposed Sexual Harassment Bill (which rights activists have been working towards for two decades) was expected to be tabled at the next parliamentary meeting (which would have been tomorrow), which is the start of the new Parliamentary session.

The proposed Gender Equality Bill (in the works for the past decade) was also scheduled to be tabled in Parliament.

And so was the proposed Anti-Stalking Bill and amendments to the Employment Act that mandate seven days of paternity leave for all fathers.

But now, with a new prime minister in office and an empty Cabinet as yet, it is uncertain if these new laws will see the light of day anytime soon or at all.

Will gender rights or the protection of women be a priority for the new Government?

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day (IWD) – a day when the world unites in recognising the achievements of women while pushing for greater equality.

What timing.

So, push we must, both individually and collectively.

This year’s IWD theme is Each for Equal.

The demand for equality is simply asking that every single human being be treated the same way and given the same opportunities.

An equal world is simply a world where every person, regardless of their gender, is able to participate in any sport or pursue any career of their choice.

It’s really quite a basic principal of fairness but strangely enough, it’s something that women and other vulnerable groups in society have had to fight for for decades.

Each for Equal dismantles the notion that the fight for equality be relegated to women alone.

Instead it advocates that everyone play their part in calling for change.

While civil society groups lobby the government for laws that eliminate gender bias and protect women and girls, let us all (men and women) do our part in making our communities better.

Each for Equal calls for each of us to examine our personal biases and assumptions about girls and women, and their abilities and rights.

A recent survey by market research company Ipsos revealed that only 17% of Malaysians think that men and women are equal.

This means that a whopping 83% of us know that gender bias exists.

What must we do?

We must speak up. It is easier to stay silent but silence doesn’t bring change.

If 83% of Malaysians demand that women and girls be treated as equals, chances are, we will see change.

So what must we do?

When we see bias in the workplace, speak up.

When you recognise bias in your assumptions and attitude, shut it down.

When we see a woman being silenced, speak up.

When we see a woman being abused or harassed, speak up.

When we see a girl being sidelined, speak up.

When we catch ourselves perpetuating gender stereotypes – girls can’t lift weights/boys don’t cry – stop ourselves.

The fight for gender equality is not a zero-sum game: no one loses when girls and women are empowered or better protected.

Let our voices be heard and let’s make our voices count where it matters the most: in creating a more just and equitable Malaysia.

Happy International Women’s Day.

by By The Star Says.

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Work towards gender equality, it builds resilience

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020
We must understand the learning differences between male and female students for them to reach their potential. FILE PIC

LETTERS: THANKS to the progress of the nation so far, we are first-world enough to raise children to be gender equals, more now than ever.

However, the efforts by some across the country to raise children to be gender equals are being challenged.

This matter demands the Ministry of Education to make changes accordingly. The issue starts with the ministry where yearly school performance statistics reported for national examinations discriminate between boys and girls.

One may ask, how does a simple statistical analysis of such a matter cause harm?

The answer is, it does when the schools apply quotas for male and female students to qualify to enter better performing classes in schools.

We should apply the iceberg scenario where only a small part is visible. It will be inaccurate and speculative if such quotas are also used for computing the national examination results and admission into local universities.

So, right from school, boys are being conveniently given quotas that the ministry has created for the male students to get into better performing classes in schools and universities.

This leads to pertinent questions: Will a male student, who is a product of such gender quota implementation, continue to discriminate the females in the workforce because of his sense of entitlement to the quota, i.e. his birthright as a male without having to work for it as much as a female in his cohort?

Should female students continue to be discriminated by having to live with a glass ceiling that is present simply because the male students are performing worse than them but there is this quota to fill for male students?

The female will be more resilient of course. In fact, thanks to the motivation of the family, she may turn out fine.

But how will the male be resilient without the effort needed to be in the best class or best course? Isn’t this taking a step back into gender inequality?

Co-ed schools are segregating students into classes by their learning performance which is measured by examination marks. Using a quota system for males and females is just an excuse by the teaching workforce who fail to understand the learning differences between male and female students for them to reach their potential.

It seems the education system is saying that males are intellectually challenged compared with females, and thus the need to practise gender quota for getting into the better classes in schools and courses in institutes of higher learning.

We should be working towards resilience of both genders. We should be working towards preventing a vicious cycle of gender biasness being instilled at the grassroots itself.

Even if the system wants to change, it takes time to execute the changes. For the moment, brace yourselves for this continued form of gender inequality


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Where gender equality is lagging

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020
In the workplace, the law in 32 Commonwealth countries does not mandate equal remuneration for work of equal value. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only

LETTERS: The Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting assembled in Nairobi, Kenya from Sept 19 to 20, 2019. It sought to take stock of the current status of gender equality among member countries, and to share their experience on how this important Commonwealth priority can be achieved more swiftly.

The past century has witnessed the greatest advances for gender equality in human history.

From New Zealand becoming the first self-governing country in 1893 to allow women to vote in parliamentary elections, to Sri Lanka electing the world’s first female prime minister in 1960, the gender gap has never narrowed so quickly, but there is still much ground to be gained.

In order to accelerate progress, efforts are now being made by organisations to measure progress against indicators linked to women’s empowerment. For instance, in the Commonwealth a girl is as likely to attend primary school as a boy. In the Parliaments of 13 Commonwealth countries, 30 per cent of members are women.

Women everywhere can now expect to outlive men. Yet against this progress, underlying systemic inequality remains widespread. In politics, only one in five parliamentarians is a woman. In education, of every 10 girls, only seven attend secondary school.

In the workplace, the law in 32 countries does not mandate equal remuneration for work of equal value. That is according to research undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat in preparation for the Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting in Kenya.

This research offers a snapshot of progress towards gender equality within and across the Commonwealth in four priority areas: Women in leadership, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls, and gender and climate change.

Women in leadership

Commonwealth countries have declared that their ambition is to ensure 30 per cent of the political sphere is made up of women. In 13 Commonwealth member countries , 30 per cent of members of parliament are women.

10 Commonwealth countries have achieved the target of 30 per cent women ministers, and Canada leads with over 50 per cent.

Women’s economic empowerment

Although gender gaps in enrolment in education have narrowed, this has not yet translated into women’s equal participation in the labour force.

The pan-Commonwealth average for female labour force participation is 56.30 per cent, which means that only just over one in two women work in the formal sector.

Our analysis shows a disjunction in the transition from primary to secondary schools for girls, largely due to factors such as the cost of education, child marriage or labour, and violence against girls.

The highest female enrolment in secondary schools is in Canada with 100 per cent. Twenty of our member countries do not have legislation on sexual harassment in employment, while 23 do not have criminal penalties for sexual harassment in the workplace.

Ending violence against women and girls

Prevalence of violence against women and girls remains high throughout the world, despite advances in women’s economic status. Of our 53 Commonwealth member countries, 47 have laws against domestic violence; 20 have legislation that explicitly criminalises marital rape and 40 have legislation against sexual harassment.

Gender and climate change

Our Commonwealth studies show that a higher proportion of women are found in employment that is vulnerable to climate change, and that at least 80 per cent of green jobs globally are expected to be in the secondary sectors such as construction, manufacturing and energy production—industries where women are already underrepresented.

For gender equality to become a reality, action has to be mainstreamed across the political sphere, public and private sectors.


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Equal opportunities for women

Friday, December 20th, 2019

Chai (front row, right) with her colleagues from Dell.

AS technologies evolve in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0), there is a greater need for equal gender representation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to empower diversity of thought and ensure the long-term effectiveness of technological advancements.

In empowering students to meet the needs of IR 4.0, INTI International University and Colleges (INTI) has also taken strides to ensure that students from all backgrounds receive equal opportunities in accessing its programmes and gaining employment opportunities through industry collaborations.

These INTI alumnae share their experiences in breaking the gender gaps in their own careers.

“Annabelle Chai Loo Lyn, a Diploma in Information Technology graduate from INTI International College Penang, currently works as an analyst with renowned technology leader Dell.”

INTI International College Penang, currently works as an analyst with renowned technology leader Dell.

After a year at Dell, Chai became the pioneer analyst for the organisation’s Global Email Operations in Penang, overseeing the group’s email campaigns, analytics, trends and outcomes.

“My job allows me to better understand our customers and their needs. Through data analysis, we produce more informed solutions for the organisation, which in turn helps to generate better products and services, and enables us to grow our business, ” shared Chai.

Sharing similar experiences, Nur Syafiyah Nabilah Arman, a 24-year-old graduate of INTI International University’s Bachelor of Computer Science programme, currently works as an information systems audit associate in KPMG.

Nur Syafiyah is responsible for developing approaches that demonstrate effective IT compliance to sustain KPMG’s business values.

“I perform inspections on our clients’ IT system controls to ensure that they are effective and generate accurate data.

This helps organisations manage their financial systems’ security risks, which directly impact their efficiency and quality, ” she explained.

“The career preparation workshops I attend at INTI during my final semester helped me tremendously in achieving my potential.”

Florence Pereira, an IP Validation Engineer at Intel Technology Sdn Bhd, shares similar sentiments about studying at INTI.

The Diploma in Information and Communication Technology graduate recalled how she initially struggled in her first year at INTI because she was not familiar with the technicalities of the industry.

“My results improved because our lecturers leveraged discussions, videos and presentations to make our classes more engaging. I always left my classes wanting to find out more about what I was learning, ” Pereira recalled.

Her determination paid off when she was offered a job as a graduate trainee at Intel even before graduating.

“Many multinational companies are on the lookout for women to join the engineering sector because they bring different ideas and solutions.

“Take that first step in your STEM dream and the rest will fall into place, ” Pereira advised students.

INTI chief executive officer Tan Lin Nah said, “In addition to increasing diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace, addressing gender parity in STEM has positive economic implications, with Mckinsey estimating an increase of US$28 trillion (RM116 trillion) to the global annual GDP by the year 2025 through such efforts. (1)

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Agong pleased to see more women appointed judges

Thursday, December 5th, 2019
His Highness Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was pleased to present the official appointment letter to the Court of Appeal President Datuk Rohana Yusof at the Judgment and Appeal Ceremony of the President of the Appeal Court, Federal Court Judge, Appellate Court Judge and Court Judge High in the Royal Palace today. — BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Court Judge Datuk Rohana Yusof was today appointed as the new President of the Court of Appeals after receiving the official appointment letter from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

She received her letter of appointment at the Istana Negara together eight other judges, five of whom were women.

Three other Appeals Court judges namely Datuk Zaleha Yusof, Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Datuk Hasnah Mohammed Hashim were appointed as Federal Court judges while High Court Judge Datuk Hadhariah Syed Ismail was elevated to Appeals Court judge.

Meanwhile, also appointed as Appeals Court Judge were Datuk Abu Bakar Jais and Nantha Balan a/l E.S. Moorthy who were both High Court Judges.

Also appointed as High Court Judges were Datuk Seri Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah and Datuk Azmi Abdullah who were both Judicial Commissioners.

Among those who witnessed the ceremony were Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ismail Bakar.

Chief Comptroller of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said in a statement that Al-Sultan Abdullah also expressed his pleasure at the appointment of more women judges which reflected the commitment of the federal administration to feature more women in the judiciary.

By Bernama.

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Women given equal chance for major positions in public services – Director

Thursday, November 28th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The government is committed to ensure women are given equal opportunities to hold major positions in the public services.

Sabah Public Services Department (JPAN) director Datuk Datu Rosmadi Datu Sulai said the State government is consistent in its effort to empower women and has given critical positions to women in several departments.

He asserted that the appointment to hold top leadership should no longer be based on one’s gender but on their merit and ability to administrate and lead.

The number of women in the Sabah public service department, he said, currently stands at 33 per cent – 16 per cent in the Jawatan Utama Sektor Awam (JUSA), 38 per cent in Management and Professional group, and 32 per cent in Support group.

“We take great consideration in women’s involvement and acknowledge the significant roles they play in the administration of Sabah.

“The high percentage recorded was the first in Sabah public services and our hope is to maintain and balance the numbers so that gender will no longer be an issue in the public services,” he said.

This year, he underlined that the government, through JPAN, had sent 24 women officers to attend courses overseas while 54 had undergone various trainings in the country.

He added that as of Nov this year, the State Public Sector Training Institution has given training to 2,632 women officers out of the total 5,931 to strengthen their skills in various field including public administration.

“We believe officers who had attended these training now have positive skills and knowledge to improve their performance in delivering quality services to the people,” he said.

Speaking of balancing work and family among women, Rosmadi further urged State departments to take the opportunity of the RM30 million allocation from the federal government to set up care centres in workplace.

“State government offices are encouraged to apply for the provision from the Malaysia Welfare Department via Sabah Public Welfare Services Department for the purpose.

“This is an initiative that is sensitive to the needs of women which is very positive to ensure women continue to excel in their careers,” he said when closing the Program Bicara WOS: Kewibawaan dan Cabaran organised by Sabah Women Affairs Department (Jhewa) here on Wednesday.

Also present were Jhewa director Masturah Jamrah, permanent secretary of Housing and Local Government Ministry Masnah Matsalleh and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia former vice-chancellor Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali.

A total of 114 participants from various organisations took part in the programme.

Masturah, in her speech, said women need to continue working hard, and urged the government to consider appointing more women who are qualified to be part of the administration’s top leadership.

While the number of women in the public service is growing, she stated there are currently only four women holding major positions, including as permanent secretaries, in several ministries.

“One of our Key Performance Index in Jhewa is to reach 20 per cent women among the local authorities but it seems that we have only reached 15 per cent.

“This, however, is beyond our control as the appointment relies on the assemblymen’s recommendation therefore what we can do is provide training to help women so that they could be appointed as councillors.

“I was also informed that there is no woman in the State Civil Service Commission; we previously had three, therefore we pray to the director to appoint women to join.


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Mind the gap!

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

MALAYSIA has a woman deputy prime minister. We have women in the Cabinet. But there is still a lot more to be done to have gender parity in the general labour force, where women make up only about a third.

“Are women facing challenges? I say yes, ” says Mahuran Saro Sariki, deputy chief executive officer of Talent Corp Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp), the national agency driving Malaysia’s talent strategy under the aegis of the Human Resources Ministry.

Mahuran says that many women will come to a point in their careers where they have to strike a balance between work and starting a family.

“There are some women who then decide to take a break from the workforce because their support systems are probably not strong. For example, they don’t have access to childcare or their company does not provide flexible work options, ” she says.

The report found that although there are more women than men enrolled in tertiary education institutions, and girls generally perform better at school, women comprise only 39% of the total Malaysian labour force.

A lack of accessible and affordable child and elderly care services were found to be among the main reasons keeping women from working.

Acknowledging this limitation, Mahuran says TalentCorp is working at promoting childcare services in the workplace, and helping women who wish to return to their careers after a break by engaging with industries and providing training.

“For smaller businesses like SMEs (small and medium enterprises) that may be unable to provide childcare services, they have to provide an accommodating environment for their staff.

“This can include flexible working hours. Not only for women, but also for men, ” she says, acknowledging the shared responsibility at home.

The government’s policy is for all its agencies and departments to set up childcare centres in their respective offices.

Mahuran herself spent two years out of the workforce to care for her children and understands that returning to one’s career can be challenging.

“When women take a break from the workforce for a few years, the skills that they have from a few years ago may be obsolete. So there is a need to improve on that, ” she says.

Upskilling or re-training for a different sector can help in such situations.

Sharing her own story, Mahuran says that she specialised in Human Relations prior to her career break. However, she began learning about and specialising in economics and the labour market after returning to the workforce.

Among the suggested reforms in the World Bank report are prohibiting the dismissal of pregnant women, requiring 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, providing accessible child and elderly care services, and introducing paid paternity or parental leave.

Mahuran is holding an optimistic view that these reforms are achieveable.

“I would say we can do it. The commitment must be there and that is shown by the current government, ” she says.

Breaking down

gender biasesThe narrative that housework is “woman’s work” has to be changed immediately, says Izza Izelan, executive director of female youth empowerment non-governmental organisation (NGO) Women:girls.

“I urge that we do not make childcare and housework women’s issues, because they are not! They are everyone’s issues.

“Until we can internalise and understand this, no progress will be made, and any kind of system or policy will not be sustainable, ” she told Sunday Star.

Izza explains that both women and men must work hand-in-hand to help women progress.

“If women want to make it at work and still be there for their kids, they have no choice but to multitask and this causes them to become lethargic.

“Lethargy will then lead to women not being able to give 100% in the things they decide to do and, consequently, may cause them to feel like they are not ‘good enough’, ” she says.

This sentiment supports the findings of a Khazanah Research Institute report released on Thursday titled “Time to Care: Gender Inequality, Unpaid Care Work And Time Use Survey” which found that women face a “double burden”, as they carry more responsibilities for unpaid care work despite working similar hours of paid work as men.

Women feel the weight of the burden on their shoulders, and this may deter them from advancing in their careers or become added barriers for them to match men in the workforce, says Izza.

The best way to develop the concept of shared responsibilities is at home through good parenting and in school, she says.

“As children grow up, they look at mothers and fathers managing house chores around them and this is how the profiling or stereotyping process starts for them.

“It is important for parents to demonstrate and instil in their children the spirit of helping each other out and respecting others regardless of their gender or any other intersectionality – this is the core of the gender issues that we are facing, ” she says.

There are many benefits that the country can reap if it looks towards positive childcare solutions. The Khazanah report detailed how higher investment in the care sector could yield considerable returns, including an increase in women’s labour force participation to 63% within five years.

Furthermore, it could potentially create over 16,000 jobs in the childcare industry and increase real gross domestic product (GDP) growth by as much as 0.4% annually.

Apart from recognising carework as a productive sector of the economy, the Khazanah report also suggests the government introduce subsidies to stimulate demand for formal childcare and enact labour policies that encourage mothers and fathers to share care responsibilities.

Need for anti-discrimination law

According to the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), one barrier to women’s workforce participation and career progression is pregnancy discrimination.

“A WAO survey found that over 40% of women had experienced pregnancy discrimination – they were fired, denied promotion, demoted, placed on prolonged probation, and made redundant, ” says Tan Heang-Lee, WAO Advocacy and Communications Officer.

Additionally, about 40% of women surveyed had been asked by job interviewers if they were pregnant or had plans to become pregnant in the near future, says Tan.

“There is currently no law that specifically prohibits gender discrimination or other forms of discrimination in the private sector, ” she explains.

“The Human Resources Ministry has said that the government is still considering the proposed anti-discrimination provision for job seekers in the Employment Act. We urge the government to include the provision in the Employment Act amendments, which are expected to be tabled this month, ” she says.

In her speech at the World Bank Report launch, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said that her ministry is in the midst of drafting two pieces of legislation aimed at increasing protection for women: first, a Bill to prohibit all forms of discrimination against women, and second, a Bill to address the issue of sexual harassment within and outside the workplace.

More women leaders

It is essential that more women are placed in decision-making positions because women’s representation in leadership helps ensure decisions and policies are sensitive to women’s needs, says Tan.

“As a case in point, the passing of the Domestic Violence Act in 1994, a landmark advancement of women’s rights in Malaysia was made possible by the leadership of the late Tan Sri Napsiah Omar, the then National Unity and Social Development Minister, who was a fierce advocate for women’s rights, ” she explains.

According to the World Bank report in 2017, only 22.1% of managers in Malaysia were female, and in 2018, only 15.7% of board members were women at a typical Malaysian public-listed firm.

On a national policymaker level, while the Pakatan Harapan government has five women as full ministers and four as deputies in its Cabinet, it still falls short of the 30% representation quota that it set for itself.

Having women in decision-making positions is not just for optics. Tan describes how women in leadership positions also break ground and act as role models to other women and girls.

“Seeing someone like themselves in leadership positions helps women and girls envision themselves as leaders too and expands their imagination of what they could be, ” she says.

Getting women back to work

Because many women face challenges when trying to return to the workforce, it is not only important to assist them by removing barriers but supportive policies should also be introduced, says women’s advocacy platform Lean In Malaysia.

“Pro women policies are important as catalysts to ensure women, or talent in general, are retained in the workforce, ” says Abir Abdul Rahim, co-founder and director of Lean In Malaysia, a non-profit organisation that works to educate and empower women.

Abir says that some women feel a lack of confidence due to their absence from their field of work for a while.

“They tend to worry that they might not be up to date on developments in their profession or industry, and they worry this may impact their level of employability, ” she says, adding that this then creates self-doubt and becomes a barrier to relaunching their careers.

Many employers are also unconsciously biased when they see a gap in a woman’s resume and her chances of being hired are lowered, Abir explains.

This is where groups like Lean In can help by teaching women who took a break how to relaunch their careers via masterclasses, workshops, dialogues and other programmes.

Encourage caring corporations

There is an urgent need for top level commitment in order to realise the diversity agenda, says Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, chairman of the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia.

“Chairmen and CEOs must make gender diversity a component of their business strategy and ensure appropriate policies are in place to retain, develop and promote women into senior roles, ” the former Securities Commission Malaysia chairman tells Sunday Star.

Apart from providing flexible work hours, extended parental leave and care services, Zarinah says that the board and management of companies can also institutionalise the need for gender diversity through policies, setting targets for the company, and measuring the performance of managers.

“During my time in Shell, country chairmen were held accountable for delivering on gender diversity targets, ” says Zarinah, who spent more than two decades with the oil and gas giant.

She explains that gender diversity has to be addressed in the same way as companies address other key business goals.

“A gender diverse board is a business imperative. And that’s why investors are increasingly holding boards to account on diversity and inclusiveness.

“Major institutional shareholders are beginning to vote against male candidates to all male boards, ” she says.

One of the initiatives that took off during Zarinah’s time in Shell was the creation of the Shell Women’s Action Network (Swan), which was a forum that connected the women in Shell.

“We also worked closely with management to develop female talents through mentoring, identified women role models that young women could aspire to, got advice and networked on a social basis, ” she says, adding that Swan also organised speaking engagements, awareness sessions and lobbied for changes in human resources policies to help retain women in the workforce.

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Special award for Most Supportive Man at Women’s Day ‘do’

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

KOTA KINABALU:  The Sabah Advisory Women’s Council (MPWS) has decided to present an inaugural special award to a man who has helped women’s careers and development, including upholding their rights, at this year’s State-level Women’s Day celebration on Oct. 23.

“It is high time that men who support women be appreciated by giving this ‘Anugerah Khas’ (Gender Balance Award) to those who had given full support to women in several aspects including moral, facilities, finance and related matters,” said new Chairperson Datuk Noni J. Said (pic).

“We decided to introduce this special award in line with the theme of the celebration of  ‘Balance For Better’ and to show that men and women need to help and support each other to go forward and achieve excellence.

“But of course, only one man will be decided for this special award after scrutinising candidates submitted by anyone who fits three criteria, namely

1) Best personality supporting women and family in workplace;

2) Fostering gender equality in the workplace; and

3) Practising a charter against violence and sexual harassment against women,” she said.

Noni disclosed this at a press conference after a luncheon talk “MPWS Meet the Media” here, Tuesday, where the new line-up of MPWS and Sabah Women’s Affairs Department (Jhewa) were made known as well as their functions and roles.

Noni said the public can nominate suitable names which should include information on his background and achievements when nominating for the special award to Jhewa’s office at Wisma Wanita.

The other four awards are “Anugerah Tokoh Wanita”, “Anugerah Wanita Cemerlang”, Excellence Women Association Award and Excellence Women Entrepreneur Award.

All nominations must be sent to Jhewa before Oct 5.

“The criteria for Anugerah Tokoh Wanita and Excellence Woman Award is that she must be a Malaysian aged 35 onwards, originate from Sabah or has resided in Sabah for 15 years.

“The candidate must be involved in more than any one of the following fields of work and service like education, social work, women’s organisation, business, corporate sector, research, literature, art, sports, government, and professional, among others.,

“The candidate must has achieved advancement in her field of work in the midst of economic, social or professional challenges and possess qualities that make her a role model for women in the State,” Noni said.

According to her, the Excellence Women Association Award is to give recognition to Women Associations which have contributed excellently, especially in women development and society as a whole.

Those selected would be based on the following criterion, namely association’s organisational structure, number of members, frequency of the Committee Meeting and compliance to the date of Annual General Meeting in accordance to the association’s constitutions, financial status of the association, internal and external activities of the association, and contributions towards women socio-economic development.

The Excellence Women Entrepreneurs Award is to recognise their participation and contribution in economic development to show that women could be icons and an inspiration in the field of business.

“The criterion for Excellence Women Entrepreneurs Award is that the business must be initiated or started by a woman or women, must be fully or majority owned by a woman or women, the nominee or applicant must be the Chief Decision Maker or Managing Director or CEO and the nominee or applicant must be a Sabahan or hold a Permanent Resident for at least 15 years.

“The applicant’s business must be home grown, registered, located and operating in Sabah and the business has flourished or extended beyond Sabah would be an advantage.

“Also the business must in operation for at least three years with audited financial statements for the last three years or financial statements for the last three years submitted to Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and the applicant must have a good track record in business.”

To a question, Noni said all these five special and excellence awards provide cash prizes worth about RM60,000 and other side such as trophies and certificates on the awards.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal would be the Guest of Honour at the event at Magellan Sutera Harbour on Oct 23.

She said MPWS would be organising a roundtable discussion on sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis matter (s) in advancing gender inclusion so as to get data and statistic on number of women on certain aspects so that we have facts when we want to show concern that need to be addressed.

“There will also be a seminar on responsibilities of parents towards their children and on social issues, talks and visits to Taman Seri Puteri, conducting ‘Majlis Jalinan Mesra’ with NGOs especially women organisations, press conferences, interview by RTM TV and RTM Radio.

“We will also continue with the legal literacy programs so that women in Sabah continue to be exposed with their rights and know what to do,” she said.

MPWS would also organise a short story competition on untold stories or unsung heroes on achievement and struggles of women as well as how they face challenges in life and a new competition of short videos for two-minute each on challenges and success of women.

She said the winners for the two competitions would be decided by the MPWS Wanita and Media committee’s and the cash prizes would be given on Oct 23.

By: Hayati Dzulkifli.

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Gender parity a work in progress in energy sector

Thursday, September 19th, 2019
The number of women on oil and gas boards reached 14 per cent in 2019, double the level in 2009. EPA PIC

FOR years, the energy sector has been male-centric and has come under increasing scrutiny for lagging behind other industries on gender parity.

New research shows that women still occupy less than one-fifth of senior leadership spots. Progress has been made, but there is still work to be done

If the energy sector maintains its current pace, 50-50 gender parity won’t be reached until 2058.

S&P Global’s new report — #ChangePays in Energy — showed that there are signs that gender diversity in the global energy sector is improving and has accelerated in the past 10 years.

The number of female board members has nearly doubled since 2000 to reach 15 per cent.

Geographically, there is significant variation across countries and regions when looking at female representation among the most senior leaders in energy companies — the C-suite, board members and senior managers.

When looking at the share of female C-suite executives at energy companies globally, Malaysia with 20 per cent of its leadership made up of women is second only to the Philippines in the S&P Global BMI Energy (Sector) Index.

In addition, Malaysia outperformed the regional average in the Asia-Pacific region, achieving roughly 23 per cent of women board members and senior managers at energy companies.

The country ranks above a majority of the global developed markets, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. Looking across the region, others that significantly outperformed the regional average include the Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong.

South Korea, Japan and Pakistan were listed lowest globally at around three per cent of women board members and senior managers in the energy sector.

When broken down into subsectors, utilities with women accounting for 17 per cent of board members beat the energy-sector average, slightly ahead of renewable electricity and other sectors, including independent power producers, oil, gas and coal.

While oil and gas slightly trailed, significant progress hasbeen made, but from a lower base. The share of women on oil and gas boards reached 14 per cent in 2019, double the level in 2009.

Comparing the energy sector with the S&P Global Broad Market Index as a whole, which takes into account other industry sectors, the energy sector has closely tracked the broader swathe of industries when it comes to female board representation since 2013.

To complement the report, we spoke to senior women industry executives and regulators to hear their opinions on gender parity in the energy sector and how equality can be attained.

One theme that consistently stood out is the lower share of women in STEM specialties. As with many industries, our data shows that one reason there aren’t more women in the C-suite in energy is because there are not enough women a step below to promote.

These leaders suggested instrumental factors to get female managers into the organisational pipeline, which leads to leadership positions, including increased focus on sponsorship, mentorship programmes and networking groups in energy companies and expanding the pool of candidates for promotions.

In Malaysia, one of the key priorities of the government’s 11th Malaysia Plan is to improve the female labour participation rate by five percentage points to 59 per cent by 2020.

We oticed the government is already leading the initiative by implementing policies in its 2018 Budget that will improve the quality of education and better alignment of learning opportunities with evolving business needs, which is expected to help lower skills mismatch.

This report, #ChangePays in Energy, is part of the #ChangePays initiative launched earlier this year at S&P Global, focusing on the economic benefits of more women in the workforce.

Our research showed that greater women participation in the workplace could lead to stronger, healthier and more advanced economies.

We forecast strengthening the number of women in the labour force would add US$5.87 trillion (RM24.5 trillion) to the global market capitalisation.

Global gross domestic product could increase 26 per cent if women matched men in the workforce, which would benefit both advanced and developing countries.

The case for greater gender parity has become even more compelling. The numbers in #ChangePays in Energy show that lack of gender parity is a worldwide phenomenon.

Though there has been increased corporate attention on greater workplace inclusivity, there is still much work to be done to address diversity in terms of culture and definitions of gender roles. For real change to be made, the drive for gender equality needs to start at the top levels of organisations and be embodied throughout corporate culture in an authentic way.

By advancing this conversation and demonstrating the benefits of greater workplace inclusivity to the business bottom line, we can make the case that change will have wide-ranging benefits both to businesses and the global economy.

Change will contribute to the long-term success of the energy industry, and now it is up to companies to make it happen.

By Sarah Cottle.

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First woman in Sabah to head fire station

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Agustavia: Meaningful National Month.

KOTA KINABALU: This year’s National Month celebration is indeed a memorable one for Agustavia Joe Guasi as not only her birthday falls on National Day but she was also appointed as the Chief of the Lintas Fire Station, here, on Aug 1.

The appointment was especially significant as it made Agustavia, 37, the first woman in Sabah to hold the post.

Sharing her story, the mother of four said she started her career in 2001 merely because she needed a job, but as Lady Luck would have it, she now heads a fire station.

Agustavia said before joining as a recruit, she had never thought about being a firefighter and was not even clear about the real job of firefighters, just relating it to fire extinguishing and helping out during road accidents.

“But I promptly fell in love with the job during my recruit training,” said the former student of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Mat Salleh, Ranau.

Talking about her career path, the firefighter, who hails from Kampung Nalapak, Ranau, said she started recruit training at the Sabah Fire Academy for a year before being placed in the training department until 2007.

“Then I was transferred to the Sabah State Operations and Rescue Division from 2007 to 2009. A year later, I worked here (at the Lintas Fire Station) before working at the Sabah Operations Centre from 2011 until July,” she said.

Amazingly, her busy schedule did not stop her from reaching for the stars. Agustavia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Public Administration degree at Universiti Utara Malaysia.

On significant moments of her career, she said among the tasks she has handled are the “Ops Gempa” in Mount Kinabalu and “Ops Kemarau” in Papar district in 2015 as well as the frequent fires in squatter areas around Kota Kinabalu.

As the head of the fire station, she said, a big task looms for her as she is not only responsible for the staff and the running of the station, but also acts as the front line in dealing with the community.

“Those who are interested to be firefighters, especially women, should be mentally and physically prepared to be able to carry out their duties as firefighters. This career is not as easy as wearing a uniform; this job means constantly putting your life at risk while carrying out the task.

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