Malaysia’s love for female leaders only goes so far — Lynda Lim

Source: Asia & the Pacific Policy Society

BY LYNDA LIM

Support for women’s leadership must extend beyond the public and corporate sectors  ~ Lynda Lim

If Malaysia is serious about promoting women’s empowerment, it needs to support female leaders in civil society, Lynda Lim writes.

The Malaysian Government says it is committed to promoting women in decision-making positions. A key element of this commitment is the government’s target of having women fill at least 30 per cent of decision-making roles in both the public and corporate sectorThis focus on maximising economic outcomes placing women in leadership positions is a fairly orthodox, and restrictive, way to view the goal of women’s empowerment and leadership.

review of policies put in place signalled that a “business case approach to women’s empowerment and gender equality has become the dominant discourse through which gender equality claims are justified”. Such perspectives present gender equality claims as only valid if they fit within the market logic.

Engaging in conversation about women’s leadership in the public and private sector is of critical importance. At the same time, we must question whether and how these conversations tend to revert towards a “business case” justification for gender equality in the public and corporate sector, with diminished support for women in civil society. Read more