International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.
“The Generation Equality campaign is bringing together people of every gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion and country, to drive actions that will create the gender-equal world we all deserve.
Together, we want to mobilize to end gender-based violence; we are calling for economic justice and rights for all; bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive health and rights; and feminist action for climate justice. We want technology and innovation for gender equality; and feminist leadership. ”
- UN Women
Women are largely underrepresented, due to the patriarchal norms and traditions in Asia where men are the bread-winner, or the leader. In Malaysia, you can see that most higher management positions in the government sectors are held by men. The majority of Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament are also men! If we want to have women to hold high positions in Malaysia, we have to start with ourselves, which means voting for strong and capable women to represent our voices
According to The latest Gender Gap report, Malaysia is ranked 104th globally, trailing behind our neighbouring countries such as Lao, Cambodia and even Brunei.
Source: World Economic Forum
Through a survey conducted by Ipsos on “What Helps or Hinders Women’s Equality?”, they have found three main barriers that is preventing women from achieving equality within the workplace which is:
Employers are not doing enough to close the gender salary gap
It is sad to say that in some companies, women are paid less compared to men, yet share the same workload. According to Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), it is because of gender bias, misconception and discrimination against women.
Employers are not doing enough to help women combine work and caring responsibilities
As women are perceived as mothers and sole caregivers to their family, many companies do not recognise the work-life balance that women require. Having children or family affects women more their men, especially in areas such as promotion opportunities, salary raise and more because employers have the perception that women are not able to contribute 100% due to their family commitments. (But don’t men also play a part as a husband or father of the family?)
Employers are not promoting enough women to senior positions
Based on this report by Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), Malaysia has seen positive gains of women taking up positions in senior management, especially in the Human Resources sector. However, it will take a long time before there is significant female representation in boardrooms.
As we want to celebrate women in Malaysia for their hard work, here are some sharing from regular females (just like you and I) out there. We should support each other more and not add on to the stress!
Patrina Tang. Director, Tedboy
What are some of the challenges you face as a female entrepreneur?
Patrina: Having to juggle being a leader, a role model and motherhood. Despite being at the top, I feel that I still need to be shouldering the major responsibility of being the nurturer at home. So it’s constantly a mad juggle of my time, attention and focus. Thankfully women seemed to have a natural flair to multi-task!
What does #EachforEqual mean to you?
Patrina: Being treated as an equal, to be recognized for our contribution regardless of our gender, and to have better support for mothers at work.
Roshan Mirza. Assistant Manager, Tedboy. Mother of 4.
Any message for International Women’s Day?
Roshan: Women= Wonder Woman. No matter what happens, we are stronger than we thought, and every woman is awesome. Never look down or give up on our life story. We cannot control how we start off, but we can always control our destiny.
Ashley Loong, Girlboss of Apronbay. Mother, wife, daughter and friend.
What would you like to share with others this #IWD2020?
Ashley: Each woman has a story of sadness and pain that makes them love and live differently than we do. Let’s not be quick to judge and hate but instead spread love and kindness. If we start supporting each other, incredible things will happen.
Lim Hui Lin. Biology grad, homemaker, loyal friend and running enthusiast.
What do you want to voice out this IWD2020?
Lim Hui Lin: As a stay at home mother of two young children, I believe that women are strong beings who shoulder endless roles and responsibilities in all parts of society. More often than not, keeping things running smoothly in the background without much fanfare. Sometimes, we need to take a step back, take a breather, give ourselves and our fellow women a well deserved pat on the back to remind us that everything is ok and to acknowledge that we are doing to the best of our ability. In these days where social media gives us a skewed sense of reality, we should be less envious and judgemental of each other as everybody has a struggle that we cannot see. Instead, let us continue to support, celebrate and empower other women to be the best that we all can be!
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Post your #IWD2020 message on social media with your "hands out" equal pose for a strong call-to-action for others to support #EachforEqual!