KUCHING: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) says more data are needed on gender-related issues so that effective programmes towards achieving equality can be formulated.
Commissioner Datuk Ranita Mohd Hussein said the lack of proper data was one of the challenges faced by Suhakam in its efforts to promote gender equality.
We need data in order to plan effective programmes, she told reporters after a forum on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) here yesterday.
She added that Suhakam would push for a study on the collection of data on gender-related issues.
We do not have a study at the moment but we will certainly think about initiating one, she said.
In her speech earlier, Ranita, who is also Suhakam law reform and international treaties working group co-chairman, noted that a Malaysian woman earns only 47% of a mans income while the adult literacy rate was 84% among women compared to 91.7% for men in 2001.
The figures, from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) human development report, should serve as a reminder that a concerted effort was needed to achieve gender equality in Malaysia, she said.
In this regard, she added, CEDAW not only provided women with a vocabulary of rights but also served as leverage towards formulating action plans and enhancing laws and policies to improve womens rights.
CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1979 and Malaysia became a party to the convention nine years ago.
The one-day forum, organised by Suhakam, was opened by Welfare and Womens Affairs Assistant Minister Datuk Sharifah Mordiah Tuanku Fauzi.
More than 100 representatives from government agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) attended the forum.