F - Communities Women

Ensuring that at least 30 percent of policy makers are women

May 10, 2018
Jul 2018

Cabinet Malaysia 2018

The Borneo Post July 02, 2018

PRIME MINISTER Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER Dato Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail CABINET MINISTERS Finance Lim Guan Eng, deputy – Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah Home Tan Sri Muhyddin Md Yasin, deputy – Datuk Azis Jamman Defence Mohamad Sabu Women, Family and Community Development Dato Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, deputy – Hannah Yeoh Education Dr Maszlee Malek, deputy – Teo Nie Ching Rural Development Rina Md Harun, deputy – Sivarasa Rasiah Economic Affairs Dato Seri Mohd Azmin Ali Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin, deputy – Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli Transport Anthony Loke, deputy – Dato Kamarudin Jaffar Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo, deputy – Eddin Syazlee Shith Human Resources Kulasingaran Murugeson, deputy – Dato Mahfuz Omar Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Salehuddin Ayub, deputy – Sim Tze Tzin Health Dr Dzulkifley Ahmad, deputy – Dr Lee Boon Chye Foreign Affairs Dato Saifuddin Abdullah Federal Territories Khalid Abd Samad, deputy – Datuk Shahruddin Md Salleh Tourism, Art and Culture Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, deputy – Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik Science, Technology and Innovation Yeo Bee Yin, deputy – Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis Youth and Sport Syed Saddiq Abd Rahman, deputy – Steven Sim Chee Keong International Trade and Industry Ignatius Darell Leiking, deputy – Dr Ong Kian Ming Domestic Trade and Consumerism Dato Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, deputy – Chong Chieng Jen Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Redzuan Yusof, deputy – Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli Primary Industries Teresa Kok, deputy – Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin Works Baru Bian, deputy – Mohd Annuar Mohd Tahir Water, Land and Natural Resources Dr A Xavier Jayakumar, deputy – Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji MINISTERS IN THE PRIME MINISTER’S DEPARTMENT Religion Dato Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, deputy – Fuziah Salleh Law Datuk Liew Vui Keong, deputy – Mohamed Hanipa Maidin National Constitution and Social Welfare deputy – Dr Md Farid Md Rafik

Federal Ministers - 6/28 female ministers Deputy Ministers - 4/24 female ministers Only 10 female ministers out of 52 ministers, or 19.2%.

Jun 2018

The problem with a 30% women quota

The Edge Markets June 10, 2018

On page 181 of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) election manifesto for the recently concluded polls, our new government pledged the following: “We will ensure at least 30% of policymakers appointed at all levels are women.” Since winning the election, however, PH has yet to fulfil this promise in either its state executive councils or in the partially formed Cabinet. That should not be surprising. Many opine that quotas undermine meritocracy and are a step back for women. In Malaysia, as it is elsewhere, there are women and men who publicly oppose a gender quota in either government or corporations. What are the objections to a quota of a minimum of 30% women? And how might we better evaluate if a gender quota is beneficial or detrimental? The following are three common objections. 1. Quotas are bad. Look at the New Economic Policy (NEP). It is true the NEP has given quotas a bad name. There are, however, differences between the NEP and a quota of a minimum of 30% women. Quotas under the NEP ensure exclusivity for a specific racial category of Malaysians, even if its goals have already been achieved. This has resulted in a merit-less system and in cronyism and nepotism. Gender equality has yet to be achieved in Malaysia, and the call for 30% women is not about exclusivity. It is not asking for qualified men to be excluded. It is, instead, asking that the same opportunities available to men are made available to qualified women. If women make up 50% of the population, they should have 50% representation at all policymaking levels. Politics, after all, is not just about seniority or popularity. It is also about representation. Asking for a minimum 30% is about getting the ball rolling towards equal representation for women, who have thus far been underrepresented in politics. When gender equality has been established, the quotas can be removed. 2. Quotas undermine meritocracy In a paper published last year, economists at the London School of Economics found in their research on Sweden that gender quotas in politics actually raised “the competence of the political class in general, and among men in particular”. They found that, on average, a 10 percentage-point higher female representation raised the proportion of competent men by three percentage points. They also found that “mediocre leaders are either kicked out or resign in the wake of more gender parity”. The economists concluded that “a quota has the potential to undercut the dominance of a mediocre elite”. Other studies demonstrate the same point — that gender quotas enhance quality. According to the United Nations, for example, there “is established and growing evidence” that women’s leadership in politics improves political decision-making processes, “even in the most politically combative environments”. University of Edinburgh lecturer in gender and politics, Dr Meryl Kenny, also cites several studies that have found that quotas raise the overall quality of candidates and elected representatives. Kenny writes that rather “than oust competent men in favour of mediocre women, parties have replaced mediocre men with highly qualified women”. Quotas, she argues, ensure that the “best and the brightest” are selected and elected. 3. Quotas insult women Certainly, the fact that we even need quotas to ensure equal women’s representation is insulting to women. That is, however, different from saying that quotas in themselves are insulting. A quota is not a handicap given to women because they are incompetent or unqualified. Quotas are needed not because women are not good enough. Quotas are needed because an imperfect system that creates inequality and unfairness needs to be corrected when it is not likely to self-correct soon enough. Quotas help interrupt the “patterns of exclusion”, whether across race, gender or class, that US Episcopal bishop Michael Curry speaks about. And the fact is, Malaysian women are being excluded. If women were not being excluded, they would already make up 50% of all state excos and the Cabinet, just as it was in the Canadian Cabinet after Justin Trudeau became prime minister in 2015. Instead, Malaysian women’s representation in politics is among the lowest in the world, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Additionally, there is evidence in the PH-led states that because of implicit gender biases, women continue to be overlooked or ignored. In Selangor, for example, 12 women from PH were voted into the state assembly. Only two were appointed to an exco of 11. In Penang, there are five women assemblypersons from PH. Only one was appointed to the 11-member exco. According to the Australian Institute of International Affairs, research on gender quotas in Kenya and Australia proves that quotas play an important role in “bringing women’s voices into systems where they are otherwise excluded, shortcutting a process that can naturally take generations”. What now? The previous Barisan Nasional government made the promise for 30% women as far back as in 1998. Hence, PH’s pledge in its Buku Harapan is not exactly new. However, PH also promised that it would deliver on its electoral pledges so as to create a better Malaysia. Thus far, it has failed to live up to this promise vis-à-vis fairer and better gender representation in policymaking positions in the state and federal governments. It has one last chance to do so in the appointment of the full Cabinet. The fact is, PH need only appoint another five women ministers to a Cabinet of 25 ministries to make good on this promise. The good news is, PH has 18 other women members of parliament it can choose from, apart from the three who have already been appointed ministers. Indeed, this is the easiest pledge for PH to fulfil. The data and research prove the benefits of having a gender quota, contrary to popular objections. Not only that, PH clearly has more than enough competent women MPs to nominate as ministers. PH has already failed to ensure a minimum 30% women in the seven states it controls. Should it also fail to have a minimum of 30% women in the Cabinet, it might be fair to conclude the following: our new government treats as dispensable the promises it makes about women’s rights and representation in this country. Our hope is that they prove us wrong.

Feb 2018

Zuraida: Having more women in govt could prevent Indira Gandhi’s plight

Free Malaysia Today February 03, 2018

Zuraida Kamaruddin sees the promise by Dr Mahathir Mohamad to prioritise the role of women in government if Pakatan Harapan comes to power as the best thing for women in the country. According to the PKR Wanita chief, such a scenario would place greater emphasis on women’s rights and help in cases such as the unilateral conversion and custody battles experienced by M Indira Gandhi and S Deepa. “If more women were policymakers, the cases involving Indira Gandhi and Deepa, pertaining to their children’s unilateral conversion, would not have happened. “Also, having more women leaders will help lead our society towards a ‘No Child Marriages’ and ‘No Domestic Violence’ environment,” she said. She added that this would be the outcome with having the input and feedback from women leaders on important issues, in order for decisions to be made with greater consideration towards women. The Ampang MP said Mahathir’s views also differ with how the Barisan Nasional-led government had no political will to share power with women over the past 60 years. She was referring to the talk given by the PPBM chairman via Facebook on Thursday. It was part of the “Policy Talks” by the former prime minister on the social media platform in the lead up to the 14th general election (GE14) which is just months, if not weeks, away. He blamed Prime Minister Najib Razak for failing to appoint more women to his cabinet. “Even if there are women in Najib’s cabinet, they are not given important roles. “They are responsible for small problems, nothing to do with the country’s economy, economic growth, trade growth, like Rafidah Aziz,” Mahathir said, referring to the former Wanita Umno chief who served in his cabinet. Rafidah was international trade and industry minister between 1987 and 2008, serving under Mahathir and his successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Zuraida said she agreed with Mahathir’s views expressed in his policy talks. “We concur with Mahathir that there is a deficit in the trust on women’s capabilities even when women form the majority of university graduates every year. “But I am more pleased with Mahathir’s proposal to allocate more than 30% women in decision-making roles in any future administration under the Pakatan Harapan (PH),” she said. She added that this easily makes the opposition coalition the best choice for the country, as more women would have access to better roles as policymakers. “With more women helming important positions, especially as ministers or senators, women can be assured that their needs will be taken care of.” She added that in line with this policy, PH will be fielding even more women candidates in GE14. “If Pakatan Harapan manages to win this election, a lot more women will be appointed to share power to govern our country. “The political will of Pakatan Harapan to field at least 30% women candidates for GE14 is a move that will surely be well received by everyone and in particular, women voters.”