Women outnumber men in fields such as medicine, dentistry, law and accountancy

  • Nation
  • Friday, 08 Mar 2019

PETALING JAYA: Dentists, lawyers, accountants and doctors – women in Malaysia have outnumbered men in these top professions.

However, the fairer sex still trails behind when it comes to holding decision-making posts in top public listed companies (PLCs).

“Among the top 100 PLCs in Malaysia, women appointed to the board of directors make up 24.4% in 2018,” the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry told The Star.

Nevertheless, it is an increase from 19.27% in 2017 and closer to Malaysia’s 30% target by 2020.

The ministry revealed that Malaysian women excelled in professional fields, making up 67.9% of dentists in the country, 52.6% of lawyers, 52.6% of accountants, 51.9% of medical doctors and 47.3% of veterinary surgeons.

This is based on data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia between 2016 and 2017.

“While achieving the 30% target for women in the top 100 PLCs looks promising, efforts must be intensified to have such results in other companies.

“We believe that gender diversity increases corporate governance and financial performance. The ministry urges companies to reflect and take a stronger stand in enabling this,” the ministry said.

Industries most severely lacking in women are water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (0.2%), mining and quarry (0.3%), arts, entertainment and recreation (0.6%) and real estate (0.6%).

The ministry said for every 107 men in Malaysia, there are 100 women, as of July 2018.

“This means 48.18% of our population are females. As such, the ministry believes that such equal ratio should also be reflected in all areas and levels of work positions,” it said.

In conjunction with International Women’s Day (IWD) today, the ministry hopes to empower women and eliminate gender discrimination.

“With this year’s theme being Balance for Better, all parties should appreciate the roles that women play and consider how everyone can help women balance their roles for the better,” the ministry said.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) advocacy and communications officer Tan Heang-Lee said gender inequality still persists despite progress in areas like education.

“Women make up only 14% of Members of Parliament and 19% of Cabinet ministers,” she said, adding WAO and the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) were calling for a Gender Equality Act.

“The Act will protect women from gender discrimination and require the government to accelerate the fulfilment of gender equality,” Tan said.

This includes having a supportive work environment like maternity benefits, parental leave, flexible working arrangements, job-sharing and part-time work.

Tomorrow, a Women’s March will be held to mark IWD in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.

Organised by a group of NGOs and individuals called Gerakan Pembebasan Wanita, the event aims to end violence based on gender and sexual orientation and ban child marriage, among others.

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