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Malaysian Women Must Acquire Digital Skills

SERDANG – Women must empower themselves with a variety of digital skills instead of just being adept at making on-line purchases, said Communications and Multimedia Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad.

She said among the areas that women in Malaysia should explore are big data and algorithm conversion analysis.

“Malaysia needs more women who have the skill to develop new mobile phone applications that can help society,” she told reporters after delivering a speech ‘Embracing the Digital Era: Roles of Women’ at the [email protected] programme at Universiti Putra Malaysia, here today.

Sharifah Zarah said regardless of age and background, Malaysian women must keep up with the computer world advancement and development so that they would not be left behind.

In her lecture which was attended by 120 final year Modern Language and Communications Faculty students, she said women should be financially independent and strong as well as educated.

“In this way a woman can have high self-confidence,” said Sharifah Zarah who also shared her experiences while serving in the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the United Nations.

The [email protected] programme was launched by the Higher Education Ministry to produce knowledgeable and well-balanced graduates who are guided by good values. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia has the lowest proportion of senior business roles
held by women in ASEAN, according to a latest report by Grant Thornton.

The 2017 International Business Report (IBR), a survey conducted between
October-December in 2016, revealed that only 24 per cent of senior business
roles were held by women in Malaysia, down from 26 per cent recorded in the 2016

Meanwhile, 34 per cent of businesses here have no women in senior
management, up from 31 per cent previously.

The annual survey highlighted that Indonesia had the highest proportion of
senior business roles held by women (46 per cent) followed by Philippines (40
per cent), Thailand (31 per cent) and Singapore (30 per cent).

Grant Thornton Malaysia Country Managing Partner Datuk NK Jasani said
while businesses across ASEAN have increased the proportion of senior roles held
by women, Malaysia was still only half-way there.

“This is a real concern for business growth as it suggests we are not
maximising the potential out there.

“Diversity will be key to their success and those that remain closed are
putting themselves at risk of not tapping their full potential and losing
access to diversity of thinking,” he added.

Most women around the world would prefer to be working at paid jobs, and nearly as many men agree with them, even in regions with traditionally fewer women in the workforce, according to research released on Tuesday (March 7).

Only a third of women and men would prefer to see women stay at home, said the report by the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) and US polling organization Gallup.

Half of the world’s working age women participate in the labour market, compared with three-quarters of men, the ILO said.

Those levels vary by region, with only a quarter or less of women in the workforce in South Asia, North Africa and Arab states.

The research, based on interviews in 2016 with almost 149,000 adults in 142 countries and territories, was aimed at understanding the factors affecting women’s participation in the labour force.

“Against the backdrop of the significant progress women have made in the world of work, there is much yet to accomplish,” the report said. “Over the decades, the benefits that women’s economic empowerment brings to individuals, families and societies as a whole have become clear, and yet gender equality has not been achieved anywhere.”

Worldwide, 70 per cent of women and 66 per cent of men would prefer that women work at paid jobs, it said.

Even where women are less present in the workforce, 57 per cent of men in North Africa and 52 per cent of men in Arab states said they would prefer to see women in paid work as well as working to care for their families.

The gender wage gap globally was estimated at 23 per cent, meaning on average women earn 77 per cent of what men earn, according to ILO data.

The research found the pay gap is unrelated to a country’s level of economic development and cannot be explained by differences in education, experience, age or career breaks.

It attributed the gap instead to “pervasive discrimination – conscious or unconscious – against women.”

Balancing work and family was cited as the biggest challenge in developed and emerging economies, and unfair treatment at work the biggest concern in developing economies.

The findings could help governments, employers and workers’ organisations keen to tap into women’s talent, the report said, calling for training for women and raising men’s awareness about the benefits of an increased household income. – Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 1.18 million women entrepreneurs have registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) so far, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said that to help the group, the ministry had carried out various programmes including Single Mother Skills Incubator (I-KIT), Women Entrepreneurship Incubator (I-KeuNITA), 1AZAM and Mamacare.

“Through the I-KIT programme, 2,359 single mothers out of 5,082 participants have successfully becoming entrepreneurs after six months with an average increase of income from RM500 to RM750 per month,” she said in reply to a question from Rubiah Wang (BN-Kota Samarahan).

Rubiah had wanted to know the number of rural women entrepreneurs and the efforts to develop them.

Azizah said that as of December last year, 1,446 women or 19 per cent of the total 7,719 participants of I-KeuNITA had become entrepreneurs.

“The 1Azam programme has guided 32,587 women by improving their income to more than RM300,” she said.

Azizah said 91 entrepreneurs of the post-natal care programme, Mamacare, had earned a total of RM1.3 million from January 2013 to December 2014.

She said the ministry had also guided 188 women entrepreneurs through the Women Bazaar programme.


KUALA LUMPUR: On the occasion of International Women’s Day today, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak called on public-listed companies to get more women involved in policy- and decision-making positions.

Saying that women only held 15.6 per cent of such positions, the Prime Minister said “more needs to be done in the public-listed companies”.

“I urge the industry leaders to do more, to take the next step, to break the glass ceiling and implement gender-diversity policies,” he said in his latest post on his blog, www.najibrazak.com.

Najib said that back in 2011, he announced a vision “very dear to me – to have 30 per cent of decision-making positions to be held by women by 2016”.

“Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God), in the public sector, we have achieved our target. As of August 2015, we have 37 per cent women in decision-making positions in the public sector,” he said.

Najib said he believed that daughters should have the same opportunities granted to sons.

“We must Pledge for Parity and remain committed to empower women in our society.

“Let’s secure the future of our daughters, support the sacrifices of our wives and mothers because they too deserve the same opportunities.

“Happy International Women’s Day to all!” he said.


PUTRAJAYA – Women’s achievements should not be looked down upon based on gender and they should be given equal opportunities, said Communications and Multimedia Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad.

Sharifah Zarah, who is also the ministry’s Association of Wives of Civil Servants and Women Members of the Civil Service (Puspanita) branch adviser, said Malaysia realised that women were key contributors to sustainable development and shaping community socio-cultural wellbeing.

She said women in Malaysia made up 48.6 per cent or 14.633 million Malaysian citizens in 2014 and contributed to about 52.4 per cent of the employment rate.

“For the ministry, women represent 59.3 per cent or 373 of the civil servants in it,” she said in her speech in conjunction with the branch’s 33rd annual general meeting here today.

The text of her speech was read out by the ministry’s deputy secretary-general (Policy Matters) Datuk Mohid Mohamed.

Sharifah Zarah said she also put her trust in the leadership and skills of women staff in the ministry, its departments and agencies in realising the transformation programmes which were started since early last year.

“I learnt that all departments and agencies under the ministry are pursuing the transformation plans based on the ministry’s basic strategies.

“Here, this can be deemed as the first step to change people’s perception that women are weak,” she added. – BERNAMA

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Women’s World Cup quickly built from uncertainty to predatory dependability for midfielder Carli Lloyd, then concluded Sunday in a display of startling deliverance.

Lloyd scored the quickest goal in a Women’s World Cup final, slicing a shot with the outside of her left foot from a corner kick in the third minute of a 5-2 victory over Japan.

Lloyd was far from done, delivering three goals in the first 16 minutes before an ecstatic crowd announced at 53,341 at BC Place Stadium, including Vice President Joe Biden. The United States built a 4-0 lead and found redemption after losing to Japan in a penalty shootout in the final of the 2011 Women’s World Cup. The United States became the first team to win the tournament three times.

In the fifth minute, Lloyd ran onto a back-heel pass from Julie Johnston and placed a shot between the legs of a Japanese defender. And in the 16th minute, in an act of great audacity and accuracy, Lloyd launched a shot from midfield.

Ayumi Kaihori, the Japanese goalkeeper, was caught off her line. Backpedaling furiously, Kaihori could only reach futilely with her right hand as the ball deflected off the left post into the net, giving the United States a 4-0 cushion.

As the World Cup began, Lloyd had faced critical remarks about her confidence from Pia Sundhage, a Swede who coached the United States at the 2011 World Cup and to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Lloyd was also ineffective playing a more defensive role in midfield. But Coach Jill Ellis changed her tactics in the knockout rounds and Lloyd pushed into the attack with freedom and inventiveness.

Lloyd had called for the team to take more chances, and Ellis had assured her: “Don’t stress it. We’re going to find a way to get you going.”

“I knew my time was going to come,” Lloyd said.

Her three goals Sunday gave her six in the final four games for the Americans. Lloyd was awarded the Golden Ball as the World Cup’s most outstanding player. The match further confirmed her place as one of the most reliable big-game players ever in American women’s soccer. Previously, Lloyd had scored the winning goals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

“These are the moments that I live for,” Lloyd, who will be 33 next week, said before Sunday’s final.

Sunday’s victory also provided a valedictory moment for Abby Wambach, 35, who is international soccer’s leading career scorer with 183 goals but had never won a World Cup. Wambach accepted a lesser role as the tournament progressed and Lloyd became more assertive and productive.

The United States conceded its first goals on Sunday since its opening match, including an own goal by Johnston in the 52nd minute that drew Japan within 4-2. But Hope Solo reasserted herself in this tournament as perhaps the world’s best goalkeeper, despite a lingering domestic abuse scandal.

This team possessed the same qualities as the American champions from the 1991 and 1999 World Cups — depth, confidence, selflessness, athleticism, stamina, indefatigable spirit.

Those earlier teams, too, also enjoyed a significant cultural advantage. Many nations discouraged soccer for women, while the United States had passed a law in 1972, known as Title IX, that prohibited discrimination based on gender.

In 1999, the Americans prevailed in a penalty shootout against China in the largest sporting event ever held for women, as 90,000 fans crammed into the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

That tournament was as much a movement as a sporting event, as women’s soccer came into the mainstream. Mia Hamm embodied all the athletic possibilities of Title IX — a college scholarship, accomplishment, respect, financial security, celebrity. She seemed to transcend gender and was considered simply a soccer player, not women’s soccer player.

The magazine cover photos of Brandi Chastain celebrating after her decisive penalty kick in 1999 became one of the most iconic depictions of a female athlete — pure exultant strength.

“That was a cause, a passion,” said April Heinrichs, a star forward on the 1991 World Cup team and coach of the 2003 team. “The players who were involved did the heavy lifting in promoting and marketing, along with the playing and educating. This era is about the technical and tactical aspects of a game that has evolved so far in 16 years.”

The evolution of the game by 2015 was evident in the scrutiny and early criticism of Ellis’s lineups and tactics, which tended toward caution during group play.

“We’re talking about them as athletes, rather than some of the conversations we had in ’99 — ‘My God, who are these women? They’re kind of hot!” said Julie Foudy, a star midfielder on the 1999 team.

The 2015 Women’s World Cup expanded to 24 from 16 teams. International parity was displayed as Colombia defeated third-ranked France, England reached the semifinals and Cameroon advanced to the round of 16. Women are playing in professional leagues around the world. The game is faster now, more skilled, vital in the transitional moments between defense and attack.

As opponents have grown stronger, though, the Americans have maintained their standing with three consecutive Olympic gold medals and two consecutive appearances in the World Cup final, capped by Sunday’s victory.

“Our benchmark is winning,” midfielder Megan Rapinoe said. “I would think we would have to be considered one of the best teams there ever was.”

This American team also reflected social changes in the United States in the new century. Ellis, Wambach and Rapinoe are openly gay, and they spoke in a celebratory way when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage late last month.

“Our players, they’re great role models,” Ellis, 48, a native of England and now an American citizen, said when the ruling occurred. “And to have it now be something that all of us can embrace, no matter where we live in the country, it’s a tremendous step. And certainly, as somebody who benefits from that, I’m extremely pleased for everybody in our nation.”

The United States, which also received goals from Lauren Holiday and Tobin Heath on Sunday, entered the match with assurance tempered by the despair of the World Cup outcome four years ago.

On July 17, 2011, in Frankfurt, Germany, the Americans twice held a lead against Japan only to lose on penalty kicks. A victory over Japan to win a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics provided only some consolation.

“Heartbreak never goes away,” Wambach said Friday.

As the tournament opened, Lloyd faced stinging comments from Sundhage, the former American coach. Sundhage told The New York Times that if Lloyd felt the coaching staff had faith in her, she could be one of the best players on the team. If not, Sundhage said, Lloyd could be “one of the worst.”

Lloyd called the remarks untrue and said they did not bother her. And Sundhage, who now coaches Sweden, later clarified her comments, calling Lloyd “one of the most important players I’ve ever had.”

Lloyd did not always listen to what she was told, Sundhage said, but that was not necessarily a bad thing.

“Some players are very challenging,” Sundhage said, “and those players create gold.”

After the semifinals, Lloyd said she no longer thought about Sundhage’s remarks, adding, “I’m not sure what she would say now after all these games; it’d be a good question to ask her.” – The New York Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The national women’s football squad suffered their third consecutive defeat in as many matches to complete their disastrous outing in the 2015 AFF Women’s Football Championship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Mohd Asyraaf Abdullah’s charges who have been dumped out of contention were mauled 0-4 by Myanmar in their last Group B match at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Vietnam, last night, as quoted in the AFF website; www.aseanfootball.org.

For the record, Malaysia lost 0-3 to the Philippines in the opening tie on Saturday before Vietnam whipped them 7-0 in their second match two days later.

The win saw Myanmar accompany Vietnam after both teams finished in first and second spots in Group B.

Vietnam, the two-time champion, extended their unbeaten run in the tournament by defeating the Philippines 4-0 in another Group B match which was held earlier at the same venue.

Myanmar will face Group A champion Australia which is represented by the Under-20 squad while Vietnam will take on Thailand who emerged as Group A runner-up.


MALACCA: It’s the sort of girl power that Malaysia can do without. There are 1,300 female triad leaders in the country, says a crime prevention body.

Apparently, these leaders are recruiting more schoolgirls to join their female gangs.

United Malaysia Crime Prevention Organisation (UMCPO), which works closely with the Home Ministry, revealed that at least 12% of the current membership base of the notorious gangs were females.

UMCPO’s national chairman Datuk A. Balakrishnan said gangs like 36, 21, 24, 555, 303, 04, 08 and Satu Hati all have female wings with their own set of leaders providing “protection” to schoolgirls who are forced to pay for that protection.

Acting Penang CID chief, Asst Comm P.R. Gunarajan confirmed that female triad leaders were penetrating schools in the state to recruit members.

“They are part of the bigger gangs and act as wing leaders. They want to be recognised as “tai kah cheh and akka” (big sisters) and my men are monitoring their activities. Officers here have been in touch with schools to prevent the recruitment of female students into gangs,” he said.

Balakrishnan said police had also informed them about the number of schoolgirls and women who were part of these gangs.

“These girls also engage in fights and intimidate others into paying gang fees,” he said.

Balakrishan said that based on Bukit Aman’s statistics, violent crimes involving girls and women have been rising. It comprised about 10% of offences including assault, robbery and drug-related crimes committed last year.

Balakrishnan said the increase in reports of female bullying also suggested that females could be as violent as male gangsters. He said UMCPO’s data showed there were about 1,300 active female gang leaders.

Malacca’s Private Sector, Human Resource and NGOs Committee chairman Datuk M.S. Mahadevan said the state was seeking the help of women based non-governmental organisations to address violence among schoolgirls.

He said gangs like 36, 04 and the new Johor Baru based Sorna Sisters gang were now recruiting members in the state.

Sorna Sisters is named after a violent female Tamil movie character.

Mahadevan said he had also seen videos of female gangs in action with some of the footages taken in Malacca.

Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation vice chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said he had warned of violent schoolgirls four years ago.

He said the recent incidents of bullying and violent behaviour involving students of both genders should be viewed very seriously.

“What is of utmost concern is that the violent culture appears to be gaining a foothold in our society and educational institutions,” he said.

A Bukit Aman official agreed that there was an increase in the number of females involved in criminal activities, especially acting as accomplices in gang robberies.

However, he said more research was needed to determine the actual number of female gang leaders in the country. – The Star

SYDNEY – Australian women will be able to check if their new boyfriends have a history of violence, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

The New South Wales (NSW) government will start a male domestic violence offender register which will be able to be accessed by anyone.

NSW will be the first state in Australia to get a domestic violence register, set up after 23 women were killed in NSW last year by violent partners.

“Domestic and family violence remains one of the biggest challenges to the welfare of women and children in NSW,” NSW Premier Mike Baird told a press conference on Friday.

“The disclosure scheme is a simple but powerful measure that provides people with the chance to find out if their partner has a violent past, and empowers decision-making about the future of relationships.”

More than 29,000 domestic assaults were reported in NSW last year. – Bernama