A “reverse gender gap” favouring women in Malaysian universities has become increasingly prevalent, with recent statistics showing female enrolment rates soaring above that of their male counterparts in public universities.
Between the years 2009 to 2013, a majority of IPTAs recorded yearly enrolments that were skewed towards females, based on Gender Parity Index (GPI) calculations. Likewise, a parallel analysis of IPTS’ enrolment rates showed results that were close to gender parity.
While closing the gender disparity in universities appears to be a step forward in favour of women, gender discrimination still exists in the broader socio-economic landscape.
To date, Malaysia ranks 111 out of 145 in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index, while on the UNDP’s Gender Equality Index, it ranks 62 out of 188 countries.
This disparity is reflected in issues such as the male-female wage gap and job preference. At the same time, the presence of a reverse gender gap in universities raises other concerns, such as the dilemma of the “missing” boys and potential negative impact on crime and other social indicators.
The report aims to dissect issues with a view to recommending policies that will help reduce gender disparity in Malaysia while also alleviate the implications of the “lost boys” syndrome in our public universities.