Poll: Over half of Malaysians think push for gender equality ‘discriminating’ against men despite one in five witnessing sexual harassment
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — While 21 per cent of Malaysians have witnessed sexual harassment against women, 52 per cent believe that the promotion of women’s equality has "gone so far" to the point of discrimination against men, according to a recent survey.
Ipsos' International Women’s Day 2023 survey, which was released today, showed that an almost equal proportion of men and women (54 per cent versus 50 per cent) believed that the push for gender equality is hurting men.
"While we recognise the critical role that men play in women's rights, a substantial proportion believes that we might be asking too much to the extent of discriminating against men," said Wan Nuradiah Wan Mohd Rani, Ipsos Malaysia's head of public affairs in its media release.
"Almost half of Global and Malaysian respondents claim that gender discrimination is all around them. One in five Malaysians has seen it in its worse form of sexual harassment against women.
The proportion of Malaysians who believe that the push for women's rights has "gone too far" was higher than the global average, for both men and women.
In addition, 65 per cent of Malaysians (66 per cent of men, 64 per cent of women) also believed that men are "expected to do too much" to support equality
However, the survey also revealed that 71 per cent of Malaysians (68 per cent of men, 75 per cent of women) believed that women would not achieve equality without the support of men.
In comparison, globally 14 per cent of people claimed to have witnessed sexual harassment against women, while 48 per cent (55 per cent of men and 41 per cent of women) believe that the push for gender equality is to the detriment of men.
In Malaysia, 29 per cent of respondents said they have heard a family member or friend make a sexist comment, while 21 per cent said they have seen gender discrimination at work.
However, 45 per cent of Malaysians said they had not witnessed either sexual harassment against women, sexist comments from friends and family, or workplace discrimination.
Those that believed a man who stays at home to look after his children is a lesser man were 33 per cent of both Malaysian men and women.
Although 76 per cent of Malaysians believed that there is still a long way to go for gender equality in Malaysia, 68 per cent believed that it will be achieved within their lifetime.
Additionally, 58 per cent of respondents said they were too scared to speak out and advocate for the equal rights of women as they were afraid of the repercussions to themselves.
"Unfortunately, many Malaysians are scared to speak out for women's rights for fear of the repercussions against them. Therefore, it's essential to protect and provide a safe-free zone to empower advocates of women's rights," Wan Nuradiah said.
Ipsos, a market research firm, said that this survey was conducted by interviewing 22,508 people between the ages of 16 and 74, across 32 countries.
The interviews were conducted online between December 22, 2022 and January 6 this year.