Bipartisan effort needed to empower women, says Nancy

KUALA LUMPUR: Collaboration between political parties is needed to ensure women can take up more than 30% of the seats in Parliament, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

“After every general election, the presence of women in the Parliament has fallen short of the 30%,” she said at the Women’s Rights Conference 2024 hosted by the Bar Council Women’s Rights Committee yesterday.

Currently, there are only 28 women among the 222 MPs in the august House.

Agreeing with Nancy, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said the 28 MPs represented a lower percentage of women compared with the last term.

“We have long talked about increasing women participation in politics; however, under the current political system, there is no way for women to take up more than 20% in Parliament,” she said.

Delivering her welcome address, Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah Yee Lynn said the conference was an opportunity to inspire women in leadership and foster an environment of empowerment.

As only the third woman elected president in the history of the Malaysian Bar, she said it was important for women to break barriers.

“Although 58% of Malaysian lawyers are women, we still don’t see enough women as managing partners in law firms,” she added.

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam Karima El Korri said women’s participation in political life remains a serious challenge in Malaysia.

“In 2023, Malaysia ranked 102 out of 146 countries in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, lagging behind other Asean countries.

“Malaysia’s female labour participation rate also remains low at about 56%, compared with 80% among men,” she said.

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