Equality Under Construction is a project by Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) to raise public awareness on Malaysian women’s political participation. It is in line with the government’s call for 30% representation of women in decision-making positions.
Despite making some progress, Malaysian women still have a lot to fight for. For example, while Malaysian women make up the majority of students in public universities, their participation in the workforce and politics remain low: less than 12% parliamentarians, state assembly representatives and local councillors are women.
This is despite Malaysia being signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action since 1995.
According to executive director of EMPOWER Maria Chin Abdullah (2004) barriers to women’s political participation include: lack of access to financial resources and legal rights, and not to mention the portrayal of women by the mass media who paint them as submissive.