KUALA LUMPUR: The lack of women’s participation in political empowerment in the country does not necessarily mean that the government practises discrimination against the gender, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
He said data showed that women were more prominent and competent in other sectors, such as the economy, education and health.
“Going by the score of the Global Gender Gap Report 2017 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), many say the government practises discrimination against women … pointing out that only seven of the 71 members of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly were women and only 24 or 10.8 per cent of the 222 MPs in the country were women.
“The question is why is the assessment made only in terms of political empowerment? What about the economic, education and health aspects? If viewed from this dimension, it is evident that there is no discrimination against women in the country,” he said when opening the ‘Women Power Talk 2017’ programme organised by Wanita Umno at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
Salleh said 2013 data showed that 86,798 more women enrolled in universities than men, higher than the 67,734 in 2009.
The WEF report placed the women’s achievement score above men’s in the fields of education (0.991), health (0.977) and the economy (0.654), he added “Gender inequality is only in politics, which is why we are less only in terms of political empowerment.
“That is why it is a challenge for all quarters to determine how this can be improved and all political parties can take this into account so that in Malaysia, women are strong not only in the three areas but also in politics,” he said.
Salleh said the Barisan Nasional government was concerned and sought to find the best way to improve women’s influence in the areas mentioned, especially those outlined in the WEF report.
The ‘Women Power Talk’ programme, the Wanita Umno annual event with this year’s theme being ‘Advancing U Through Media’, has gathered women leaders from the political, uniformed, government and corporate organisations.
Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, in her speech, said it was another programme of the movement to bring together career and professional women from all walks of life and across the political and racial divides. — Bernama