There is room to improve gender equality in Malaysia, says UNFPA rep

General view Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur January 18, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
General view Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur January 18, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 — Though Malaysia is making remarkable progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is still room for improvement especially on the 5th goal, namely gender equality and women empowerment.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative for Malaysia and Thailand, Marcela Suazo, said the country needs to disrupt the norms in changing the stereotyping so that the nation could start building the culture of quality for both women and men.

“As women go back into the labour force, there are certain areas that need to be addressed, for instance, the areas of discrimination in pay that lead to gender pay gap.

“We need to think on how to empower women and girls to unlock their full potential as full participants and contributors to economies, social life, family and community,” she told Bernama on the sidelines of the plenary session of Unlocking Women’s Full Potential on the second day of Malaysia SDG Summit 2019 today.

Suazo also noted that it is important to take advantage on Malaysia’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 to empower women in terms of improving the representation of women in the areas of politics, social as well as economy.

Malaysian professional squash legend Datuk Nicol Ann David, who was one of the panellists, told Bernama that although she had not experienced any discrimination as a woman in sports, outside the country there were still issues of disparity in terms of the prize money between female and male athletes.

“As a world champion in squash and representing women in sports, I feel that it’s my responsibility to push these kinds of issues in the industry because women deserve the utmost best among the men as well.

“Right now we have a professional association which includes both men and women in one body and have given out equal prize money in about ten tournaments, so I’m really proud to be a part of that,” she said.

Nicol added that the discussions on gender equality at the summit show that Malaysia is heading in a positive direction speaking of gender equality. — Bernama

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