In conjunction with the International Women’s Day, today we are going to discuss the women in the workforce.
Even in a modern world today, gender inequality still exists. Yes, it does. According to a prediction by The World Economic Forum, there will be at least another 168 years before the gender gap fully closes. Nevertheless, it also stated that the pace of change has slowed over the last 3 years.
It is proven that our women are getting lower pay than men.
In the Global Gender Gap Report 2017, our country is ranked at 104th. Just to be clear, the ranking and score of the report are to indicate the ‘equality’ of both genders. In some countries, both genders might have an equal environment, but it doesn’t mean that they are getting more resources than in other countries. Some of them (not all) might have an equally low salary. So, let’s focus on how to empower equality in our country, provide equal resources to both genders, not to be too bothered by the ranking.
From the data of all these reports, we can suggest that Malaysia is still a male dominant country. Many of working-age women in Malaysia are not actively looking for a job because the traditional ‘job’ of women is to be a housemaker. Since the living expenses have risen and women in Malaysia is getting a higher education than those days, more women started to enter the workforce. However, women find it harder to be employed than men.
The unemployment rate – the proportion of people who have spent the last 6 months looking for a job without success – is higher for women than it is for men. In 2015, a woman was 18% more likely to be unwillingly unemployed than a man.
The ironic and worrying part is the women that have higher education level find it even harder to be employed. More women with tertiary-level education are unemployed compared to those without any formal education. This is the complete opposite of men. These statistics lead to a chilling inference: that as a woman in Malaysia, the more educated you are, the harder it is for you to find a job.
This is very confusing. If we assume that the equally-educated man and woman are equally capable, they should be equally desired by employers. So, what’s going on?
Many employers still have the stereotype of women will be distracted once they have family, especially after they delivered kids. This judgement is purely unfair because in many cases, women work even harder after they become mothers to ensure a more stable income to provide their children with a better lifestyle.
If you thought people without spouse and children would be more concentrate on their career because they have less distraction, it doesn’t always go that way. People with lesser commitments sometimes can be more passive and less determined. Again, we are not suggesting ALL, but some of them do.
Hence, when selecting a staff, you can’t judge him or her by the gender and the marital status. As an employer, instead of discriminating employees by their genders, ages and marital status, you should create an equal, balanced and healthy work environment to trigger their passion towards the job. Regardless their gender, if a worker understands his/her wellbeing is part of your concern, he/she would be happier and willing to contribute more to the company.
Given the almost equal education opportunities, we have to believe that the women and men in Malaysia are equally capable. We should provide equal opportunities for both genders to lead to a stronger economy. When we employ or promote the employees based on their skills, attitudes, results and capabilities, not their age and gender, we are only doing the right choice.
Recently, a café owner shared with us that a few years back a 17-years-old young lady wrote to her and asked her for a job. The owner interviewed the young lady, found that she had zero experience in making coffee, but she had a very positive mindset. The owner employed the young lady and started to coach her. After 3 years, she is being promoted to be the manager cum person-in-charged of their new outlet. In addition, the café owner herself is a mother of two.
Cherish every individual, appreciate every contribution of everyone. Hopefully one day, we won’t have to raise awareness about gender equality, because everyone is being treated equally by then.