‘Gender balance going the other way’

Chong Eng and Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin attending the state legislative assembly sitting at Dewan Sri Penang. — Photo by Buletin Mutiara

HAS Penang been doing a tad too well in empowering women in some government agencies?

This was what Satees Muniandy (PH-Bagan Dalam) tactfully asked after state social development committee chairman Chong Eng answered an oral question on the challenges of achieving gender equality in Penang from Lim Siew Khim (PH-Sungai Pinang).

“Don’t get me wrong but in some government agencies, the gender composition of their workforce is rather unbalanced, ” said Satees.

“This offers good opportunities for women but I am of the opinion that the composition should be 50-50.”

Satees pointed out that Penang Green Council had two men and 15 women in the workforce.

Meanwhile, the George Town World Heritage Incorporated team has six men and 25 women.

Satees speaking at the state assembly sitting.Satees speaking at the state assembly sitting.

Penang Global Tourism has three male employees versus 16 women.

A little surprised by the statistics, Chong agreed that this balance was not the state’s aspiration.

“In Penang, we try for a 40-40-20 composition of the workforce in government departments and agencies.

“This means 40% women, 40% men and 20% being open to both genders.

“It is a challenge everywhere to achieve gender equality.

“In this Hall in 1995, there were only two women, including me.

“Now we have six here, one on that side (Barisan Nasional) and five here (Pakatan Harapan).

“Gender equality cannot be achieved so soon, ” said Chong Eng.

There are 40 lawmakers in Penang State Assembly, six of them women.

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