Crunching the numbers for equality

Chong Eng (right) and Ong showing figures for the Sex Disaggregated Data on the People’s Aid Packages for groups during the pandemic at a press conference in Komtar, Penang.

THE Penang government has released sex disaggregated data (SDD) on the People’s Aid Packages disbursed to groups affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The figures were tabulated as part of Penang2030’s Gender Inclusiveness Policy aimed at reducing inequality and raising civic consciousness in society.

Penang women, family development and gender inclusiveness committee chairman Chong Eng said the SDD helped paint a clearer picture on equality in the state.

“By analysing the data, we can improve existing policies or formulate new ones that better cater to the needs of Penangites, ” she said.

Besides gender, the numbers also include breakdowns according to age groups. Some sectors showed a large predominance by one gender.

Of the 3,771 offshore fishermen who received the RM400 one-off payment and 988 livestock farmers who received food aid, 98% and 97% respectively were male.

Conversely, of the 49 daycare centre and 113 kindergarten operators who received RM500 in aid, 90% and 92% of them respectively were female.

Chong Eng said this showed that gender-based occupational stereotypes still exist, with many unwilling to venture into certain fields under the belief that it is for one particular gender only.

“If possible, we want to try and make every occupation appealing and suitable for both men and women.

“In sectors such as fishing and livestock, we have to understand what challenges women face getting into it, and how the few managed to overcome it, ” she said at Komtar, Penang recently.

Penang Women’s Development Corporation CEO Ong Bee Leng said the statistics allowed policymakers to identify where the gaps were, and what measures could be taken to create equal opportunities for both sexes.

The numbers also showed a slant for those involved in the travel and tourism industry, arguably the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Among 332 tour bus, van, rental car and limousine drivers who each received RM500,98% were male. All 184 trishaw pullers were male.

Men also made up 66% out of 442 bus drivers, 72% out of 743 tour guides and 91% of the 8,386 e-hailing drivers who received similar sums.

The numbers were closer among licensed hawkers and traders. Of the 1,136 who received RM500 from the Penang Island City Council, it was 56% male and 44% female.

The Seberang Perai City Council also disbursed similar aid to 4,494 recipients, with the ratio at 58% male and 42% female.

A 70% to 30% male to female split was seen among the 119 eligible public administrative

personnel who received aid of RM500 or RM1,000, the 3,074 Village Community Management Council members who each got RM300, as well as 8,710 needy folk who received Zakat aid totalling some RM3mil.

The SDD also showed that women made up 38% of the 194,067 eligible for property tax rebates, and 100% of the 309 Women and Family Development Committee (JPWK) members working as frontliners who received RM300.

Chong Eng said the state government took pride in being the first in Malaysia to pioneer a Gender Inclusiveness Policy and require all relevant agencies and departments to collect SDD to better gauge the effectiveness of policies and inform future improvements.

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