For years, we've heard people talk about the gender wage gap (the phenomenon where men are paid way more for the same job compared to women), but very rarely do we hear the topic being discussed in Malaysian context.
On Sunday (24 November), The Star Online published an article showing that gender wage gap does indeed exists in Malaysia and it is perhaps worse than we expected.
The disparity is pretty big
The article, backed with statistics involving over eight million working adults in the country, showed that the pay gap can be between 7.1 per cent and 34.9 per cent, depending on the industry.
Despite more women graduating from university, the pay gap between women and their male counterparts in professional and managerial sectors are 20.3 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
The percentage is even more disturbing when it comes to craft and related trade works, where the gap is 34.6 per cent.
Clerical support workers are the least affected by the pay gap, but even then, there is a 7.1 per cent difference in pay.
Middle of the pack
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF)'s 2018 report, Malaysia ranks 84th among 149 countries when it comes to parity in economic participation and opportunity, which takes a look at gender pay gap among other things.
We may not be as bad as countries like Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan where the gap can be as high as 90 per cent, but we are nowhere near reaching gender parity in Malaysia.
Are we any closer to improving equality at work places, though?
This report indicates that the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has taken several steps to ensure that we are working towards the goal.
These steps include increasing the number of women in the workforce, increasing access to early childhood care, increasing maternity leave in the private sector as well as giving tax relief for childcare fees.
However, judging by the controversy surrounding the call to increase paternity leave, the unfulfilled promise by the government to have 30 per cent women participation in the cabinet and other factors, it is safe to say it will take a lifetime (literally) to achieve gender parity in Malaysia.
What do you guys think the government can do to decrease the pay gap in Malaysia?