Leadership and Management

44% of Malaysians Prefer Males in Leadership Roles, According to IPSOS

Many Malaysians prefer male leaders over female leaders in leadership roles. 44% of Malaysians prefer males for political leaders and 38% of Malaysians prefer males for business leaders.

This is based on the IPSOS press release for International Women’s Day 2024. The question “What do Malaysians think about the current progress of achieving gender equality?” highlights the importance of understanding public perceptions and attitudes regarding the advancement of gender equality in Malaysia.

Malaysia’s progress towards gender equality

It seems that Malaysia is way further from achieving that; however, there has been progress towards gender equality.

According to The Star, Sisters in Islam board director Shareena Mohd Sheriff mentioned that Malaysia has a major focus on the digital economy, such as STEM programs that attract females to programmes on how to incorporate technology into business, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) focuses on gender equality and empowering all women and girls. According to her, the target is 28.2%, based on the Star in March 2023.

According to “A Report on Malaysia’s Progress and Commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 5.1 Indicator 5.1.1,” here are their suggestions for government and government agencies towards gender equality:

  1. Incorporate other guarantees in place to protect the rights of girls in some areas, like stopping underage marriages, which are not enforced by law.
  2. Improve transparency on gender-based statistics across many areas to show more clearly how things are going for women in Malaysia
  3. Work together with women NGOs that deal directly with on-the-ground issues relating to discrimination against women in Malaysia
  4. Create stronger rules against treating women unfairly at the ministry or agency level to set a good example for the country.
  5. Change the law to make things like marital rape illegal because it are not currently protected under the law
  6. Ask religious bodies to think more modernly about women’s roles in families and society.

What do people worldwide think about female leaders?

How people see male leaders in leadership roles is influenced by various factors, including gender stereotypes and societal expectations.

Research indicates that there is a prevailing bias towards perceiving men as more effective and suitable for leadership positions compared to women.

Why? Men are often viewed as possessing agentic traits such as assertiveness and dominance, which align with traditional leadership norms.

This bias can lead to men being more likely to emerge as leaders in various settings, contributing to a gender gap in leadership positions.

Women as leaders

In leadership, women are not frequently found or underrepresented in these roles. According to Don Barden, CEO of The Perfect Plan, women will continue to face challenges in leadership roles in 2024.

This gender gap happens due to societal pressures that contribute to gender differences in personality traits, where men are perceived as more assertive and dominant, aligning with traditional leadership norms.

In conclusion, many Malaysians still prefer male leaders over female ones in politics and business, showing that gender biases still exist. But Malaysia is making progress towards gender equality, especially in areas like technology and business. To keep moving forward, we need stronger laws to protect women, clear data on gender issues, collaboration with groups helping women, and updating how we think about women’s roles.

Globally, biases towards male leaders are a problem, but by being inclusive and promoting diverse leadership, we can work towards real gender equality in Malaysia and around the world.

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