Political Participation

To achieve our mission that women fully participate in making decisions EMPOWER advocates for at least 30% women’s representation at all decision-making levels. Malaysia has less than 12% women parliamentarians, state assembly representatives and local councillors – one of the lowest in the Asia Pacific region. A critical mass of women decision-makers is crucial to promote and implement gender sensitive policies and laws as well as equality and non-discrimination.

Towards this end, EMPOWER carries out several programmes:

Women’s Political Participation | “Menjana Kuasa Wanita”

The WPP programme is aimed at enhance the awareness level and skills of grassroots leaders and potential election candidates. The programme builds on an initial training workshop with a follow-up mentorship programme to enable our participants to deepen their understanding of gender equality and develop vital leadership skills.

This programme has trained over 500 grassroots leaders and potential candidates for elected office. At the end of the programme, we expect our “graduates” to be able to articulate issues, participate and represent themselves at all levels.

As part of this programme, EMPOWER is also training participants from Orang Asli communities in Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Melaka on the documentation of rights violation through the use of information and communications technology (ICT).

Monitoring Women’s Political Participation

EMPOWER has embarked on an ambitious project to map women’s political participation in the Malaysian Parliament. The project consists of a map showing the spread of Malaysian MPs by gender for the 12th and 13th general elections, as well as reports analysing women’s political voice in Parliament.

Find out more at our Equality Under Construction sub-site.


EMPOWER has also worked with regional women activists and elected representatives to strengthen civil society’s capacity to advocate for women’s political participation at the local, national and regional levels. This was done through IKAT – Kemitraan, which is comprised of organisations from Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines and Timor Leste.

As part of the work being carried out in Malaysia, this programme was offered to women leaders in Selangor – Kuala Selangor, Klang, Hulu Langat, Shah Alam and Kajang. The IKAT project ended in 2014, but EMPOWER’s engagement with the women leaders continues.