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
March 2, 2006 | eNews 11, Leadership, India, Malaysia
On March 8, women across the world celebrated International Women’s Day through a variety of celebratory festivals, peaceful ceremonies, and political rallies to honor the long struggle for equality and freedom. WLP partners in India and Malaysia held special events to raise awareness of the rights of women and indigenous peoples in their communities.
March 2, 2006 | eNews 13, Family Law Reform, Guide to Equality in the Family, Human Rights, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco
Family law in Muslim-majority societies governs every aspect of a woman’s life – from minimum age and conditions of marriage, to divorce, child custody, and the right to work, travel, or decide on a place of residence. The reform of family law is therefore crucial to women’s ability to participate on equal terms in both family life and public life. In each thematic module, the Guide presents the current state of the law, then proposes religious, human rights, sociological, and domestic legal arguments for reform, well-supported by relevant data.
January 23, 2006 | Malaysia
"Domestic violence" means the commission of any of the following acts: (1) wilfully or knowingly placing, or attempting to place, the victim in fear of physical injury; (2) causing physical injury to the victim by such act, which is known or ought to have been known would result in physical injury; (3) compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the victim has a right to abstain; (4) confining or detaining the victim against the victim's will; or (5) causing mischief or destruction or damage to property with intent to cause or knowing that it is likely to cause distress or annoyance to the victim.
November 21, 2005 | Human Rights, Stop Violence Against Women, 2005 Events, Malaysia, Morocco
This special session at the Middle East Studies Association 2005 Annual Meeting, provided a forum for scholar/activists from Muslim-majority societies to address major challenges to eliminating violence against women and girls from a human security perspective and to discuss grassroots, national, and regional measures needed to raise awareness, initiate reform legislation, and create synergy for ongoing efforts to prevent violence and to promote human rights of women.


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