Promoting gender equality in Malaysia’s labour market

According to a recent survey, most Malaysians are giving overwhelming support to promote gender equality in the workplace. in collaboration with Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), Architects of Diversity and Undi18 has conducted a survey. It specified the widespread support to increase paid maternity and paternity leave. Moreover, it also includes policies to encourage mothers and fathers to fairly share their domestic responsibilities and care.

Paid paternity and maternity leave

The survey showed that 70% of Malaysians demand the increase of paid paternity leave for fathers. Correspond to it, WAO has urged Dewan Rakyat to pass the proposed labour law amendments to the Employment Act 1955. The proposed amendments would release 3 days of paid paternity leave for private sectors, where there is currently none. From that, WAO keeps on pushing for a minimum of 7 days of paid paternity leave.

Similarly, 75% of survey respondents also demand the increase in paid maternity leave for mothers. The proposed amendments include the increase of paid maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days for private sectors. This is proposed based on the recommended minimum standard of the International Labour Organization.

Gender discrimination and harassment

In the proposed amendments to the Employment Act, the prohibition of gender discrimination against employees is included. For example, limiting chances for advancement for women or inhibiting women from equally participating in the workplace will not be allowed.

We can see from the survey result that most Malaysians urge to eliminate gender discrimination in the workplace. Not only that, but 91% of respondents also agree to create a gender-equal environment by introducing more policies.

Nowadays, many women are discriminated by their gender or pregnancy status in recruitment and interview stage. Hence, the protection against these unfair treatments must be extended to job seekers.

Apart from that, 89% of Malaysians agree on policies that terminate sexual harassment in any context, including the workplace.

“By tabling and passing the proposed amendments to the Employment Act in November, Parliament has the opportunity to implement policies that are widely supported by Malaysians towards closing the gender gap in employment,” it said

Lastly, the survey has a total of 1,027 respondents aged from 18 years old and above quota sampled. During the question-and-answer session,  Awang Hashim, Deputy Human Resources Minister has replied to the Dewan Rakyat. He said that the proposed amendments need improvements on the minimum standard of employment and organize it with international labour standards.


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Citing overwhelming support, WAO urges Malaysia’s legislators to expedite labour law amendments for greater gender equality


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