At A Glance

Indices and Rankings
Gender Gap Ranking1 #100
Gender Inequality Index2 0.286
HDI Ranking3 #61
Political Participation
Women parliamentarians lower/upper houses 10%/23%
Women in Parliament ranking #112
Women at ministerial level (ranking) 7% (#79)
Year women received right to vote/be elected 1957/1957

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GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
Total population29.2 million
GDP per capita (PPP) $16,200
HDI ranking3#61
Population under age 1529%
Urban population72%
Internet users61%
LanguagesBahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai, others

Indices Education & Employment Political Participation
Sources (January 2013): CIA World Factbook, Inter-Parliamentary Union, Internet World Stats, MDG Info 2010, Quota Project, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, UNICEF ChildInfo , UNICEF State of the World's Children 2011, United Nations Development Project Human Development Reports, World Economic Forum, World Health Organization Global Health Observatory Database. 1.The World Economic Forum's Gender Gap index assesses how well countries divide resources and opportunities amongs male and female populations in four areas: economic participation and opportunity (salaries, participation levels and access to high-skilled employment), educational attainment (access to basic and higher level education), health and survival (life expectancy and sex ratio), and political empowerment (representation in decision-making structures). 2. The UNDP's Gender Inequality Index is designed to reveal the extent to which national human development achievements are eroded by gender inequality. It is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health (maternal mortality ratio and adolescent fertility rate), empowerment (share of parliamentary seats, and secondary and higher education attainment levels) and the labour market (women's participation in the work force). It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions). 3. The UNDP's Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary composite index that measures a country's average achievements in three basic aspects of human development: health, knowledge, and income. It was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. 4. Vulnerable employment is a Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 1B indicator; vulnerable employments are lower productivity and informal activities such as own-account workers and unpaid family workers. They are therefore more likely to lack benefi ts associated with decent employment, such as adequate social security and recourse to effective mechanisms for social dialogue. Vulnerable employment is often characterized by inadequate earnings, low productivity and substandard working conditions that undermine fundamental labour rights.
Gender Gap Ranking1 100 Adult literacy rate, females as a % of males 95% Women parliamentarians lower/upper houses 10%/23%
Gender Inequality Index2 0.286 Population with secondary education, female/male ratio 91% Women in Parliament ranking #112
Vulnerable employment for women (men)4 -- Women at ministerial level (ranking) #79
Year women received right to vote/be elected 1957/1957
Lifetime risk in maternal death, 1 in 1300 Quota type --
Births per woman 2.6 Constitutional quota in lower house --
Births per 1000 women aged 15-19 12 Electoral quota in lower house --
Voluntary political party quotas --

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Our Partner

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) is an independent feminist organization committed to improving the lives of women in Malaysia. Founded in 1985, their vision is to create a just, democratic and equitable society where women are treated with respect, and are free from all forms of violence and discrimination. Towards this, they inform, connect, and mobilize those interested in securing women’s rights, bringing about equality between men and women and supporting women in crisis. Read more >

In The News

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Reports & Updates
June 19, 2013 | Asia, Human Rights, malaysia, penan, women's rights, Malaysia
    Press Release by Penan Support Group, of which WLP Malaysia/All Women's Action Society (AWAM) is a member Kuala Lumpur – Five Penan women have journeyed far from their villages in Middle Baram, Sarawak to the capital city Kuala Lumpur to meet with representatives from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (MWFCD), the Human Rights C
November 14, 2012 | Americas, Brazil, Leading to Action, 2012 Events, Egypt, Political Participation, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey, Zimbabwe
In October, WLP traveled to Lima, Peru for the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) seventh Global Assembly, Democracy for All: Ensuring Political, Social, and Economic Inclusion. The conference brought together WLP Partners and more than 500 democracy activists, practitioners, and scholars, providing an important opportunity for learning, exchange, and networking with civil society actors from across the world.
February 22, 2012 | Malaysia
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) is an independent feminist organization committed to improving the lives of women in Malaysia. AWAM’s vision is to create a just, democratic and equitable society where women are treated with respect, and free from all forms of violence and discrimination. AWAM informs, connects and mobilizes those interested in securing women's rights, bringing about equality among men & women, and supporting women in crisis. AWAM also builds the capabilities of those who work for women's empowerment and social transformation.
October 5, 2011 | Asia, awam, Human Rights, malaysia, sexual harassment, Stop Violence Against Women, Leading to Action, Malaysia
WLP Malaysia/All Women's Action Society launches "Sexual Harassment Out (SHout)" Campaign: PRESS STATEMENT LAUNCH OF CAMPAIGN "SEXUAL HARASSMENT OUT" (SHout) 10 September 2011 Today is a very important day for women and men who have faced sexual harassment in our society. Today, we are revisiting a campaign that was started ten years again by the Joint Action Women’s Group against Violence Against Violence when a memorandum on combating sexual harassment at workplaces in 2001.
June 23, 2009 | Events, eNews 24, Brazil, Political Participation, 2009 Events, Jordan, Malaysia
Today, Ms. Afkhami said, we "need to adopt new ways of looking at the forces that produce and control social and cultural power, and focus on strategies that increase women’s leadership and access to power." She went on to describe the connection between women’s leadership and reducing violence against women. "There is new scholarship that shows not only is there a causality between women in power and a reduction in violent conflict, but the original social conditions that allowed for the rise of democracy and greater gender parity included a significant reduction in violent patriarchy."
September 14, 2007 | eNews 17, Political Participation, Jordan, Malaysia
Malaysian women's groups organized Fiesta Feminista to to reclaim the often misunderstood and maligned feminist movement by increasing awareness about the role, contributions, and relevance of feminism in building a just and democratic Malaysia. In Jordan, a media campaign to promote women's participation in politics broadcast the slogan, "You trust her to raise your children, do you not trust her to lead your municipality?"
August 13, 2006 | Leadership, Leading to Choices, Malaysia
The majority of the labor unionists were new to the participatory leadership approach and to gender analysis. Many male participants found that the workshop challenged their views on gender relations, leading them to question their behavior towards female colleagues and family members. One unionist reported, "I was blind to women's problems in our country. But I'm willing to reopen my eyes, reassess the situation, and play my part to achieve gender equality." A few men decided to organize discussions within their unions on the role of gender relations in society.
March 5, 2006 | eNews 7, Leadership, Leading to Choices, India, Malaysia
"Although for me a leader meant only a political leader, I have learned that we can also be leaders in our lives," expressed one participant. Another said, "I was inspired to come forward to help the women of our village, as well as other people, so that we can work together as one."


Zainah Anwar

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Zainah Anwar, a women's rights activist and well-published freelance writer, is former Executive Director of Sisters in Islam (SIS), a group of professional Muslim women committed to promoting the rights of Muslim women. An advocate for women's rights under Islam and the possibilities for alternative interpretation of the Qur'an, she was formerly a member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, a Chief Programme Officer for the Political Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, and a Senior Analyst at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.

S:SSO to Sakai