ENTITLED ‘Readings on Women and Development in Malaysia – A Sequel’, Professor Jamilah Ariffin in her latest book, traces four decades of change in the country.

The over 400-page book is the end product of an academic project that she initiated, the book contains 16 research essays by various specialists in different fields of women and development.

(From Left): Dato Ng Tieh Chuan (CEO of MPH), DS Dr Ng Yen Yen, Datin Paduka Prof Jamilah Ariffin, Dato Ghani Othman

This book is unlike many other books on Women Studies in Malaysia because it is premised on a deep understanding on how the economic development process affects women.v

These essays analyses time-series data of various sectors of the Malaysian economy since the 1970s to the present time and covers a wide range of topics from women’s position in the labour force, in the fields of law, education, migration and in voluntary associations.

It is very scholarly in that its analyses are based on long term wide ranging national data spanning 4 decades (1970’s to the present time). It also provides a clear understanding on women’s demographic status in marriage and fertility. The book is rounded up with an in-depth assessment of rural women’s position in the changing agricultural sector.

This is Prof Jamilah’s latest work and it is a sequel to an earlier publication in 1994 with the same title.

That earlier publication contained 20 academic papers which utilised the methodology of analysing broad-based statistical secondary and primary research data covering the period 1960-1980 in an attempt to evaluate women’s position in the various sectors of the economy, society and in the political arena.

It was originally aimed at assisting the Ministry of Women Affairs to draw up the ‘National Policy on Women’ and to understand the position of Malaysian women in its role to formulate policies and programmes for uplifting women’s well-being and status.

Prof Jamilah explained the present project was challenging, especially when it took her 4 years to complete, having put together a similar book 15 years ago.

(From Left): Dato Ng Tieh Chuan (CEO of MPH), DS Dr Ng Yen Yen, Datin Paduka Prof Jamilah Ariffin, Dato Ghani Othman

“This book will provide essential and necessary inputs for continual good planning of “Women in Development” programmes aimed at further uplifting the position of women.

“Hopefully it can also become a stimulus for the intellectual milieu especially in the field of ‘Women Studies’. Many may not be aware that sieving through masses of data with the aim of organising them as time-series statistics is a learned academic skill and requires considerable expertise which embodies a commitment to truth and accuracy.

“The subsequent task of elucidating the findings, and putting forth the conclusions, needs a trained and focused academic mind. Likewise, to make theoretically informed forecasts requires an ability to utilize the tools of ‘sociological imagination’. For all these reasons, any project that propagates this tradition of academic skills must be nurtured and continued.

“Such a collaborative effort is therefore a worthwhile venture especially when it can bring together budding young academicians and researchers,” she added.

The book, which is divided into 16 chapters, quotes extensive research in the various fields. It kicks off with an introduction by Prof Jamilah before starting of with Chapter 1: Growth and Pattern of Women’s Studies in Malaysia as Reflected by Generated Literature by Zainab Awang Ngah.

Other works include ‘The Development Process and Women’s Labour Force Participation – A Macro-Level Analysis of Patterns and Trends from the 1980s’ by Siti Rohani Yahaya, ‘Stratification And Occupational Gender Segmentation In The Labour Force’ Sulochana Nair and Goy Siew Ching, ‘Women and Political Development in Malaysia: New Millennium, New Politics’ by Rashila Ramli and Saliha Hassan and ‘Women and the Law in Malaysia’ by Serene S. Ong and Honey Tan Lay Ean.

The book also has analyses in ‘Women NGOs in Malaysia: Development and Implications for Development’ by Nik Safiah Karim and Makmor Tumin while Faridah Karim takes an in-depth look into ’Women in Education’.

Kelsom Elias, Rafliza Ramli and Prof Jamilah also cover ‘Female Migration In The Context Of National Migration Trends And Patterns: A Comparison Of the 1980-1990 Period With The Present’.

‘Women Participation in the Services Sector in Malaysia: Trends and Issues Madeline’ is also an area that is covered, by Berma & Faridah Shahadan

Other sections include ‘From Factories to Telecentres: Journey of Women in the Malaysian Labour Force’ by Lee Lee Loh-Ludher, ‘Women’s Participation In The Government Sector: Trends And Implications - A Revisit’ by Nik Rosnah Wan Abdullah and Norma Mansor.

Sections sub-titled ‘The Changing Marriage Patterns among Women in Peninsular Malaysia Since 1970’, and ‘Fertility Trends and Differentials in Peninsular Malaysia –Four Decades of Change’, is extensively covered by Tey Nai Peng.

‘Rural Women: From Family Farm to Microenterprise’ by Jariah Masud, Zumilah Zainalaludin and Linda A. Lumayag, and ‘Women in the Small Market Place – A Case Study of Women Small-Scale Traders in Kelantan by Nor Aini Haji Idris complete the research essays.

Prof Jamilah provides a detailed and thorough summing up.

‘Readings on Women and Development in Malaysia – A Sequel’, published by MPH Group Publishing is now available at all major bookstores and is retailed at RM 100 each.

About the book:

Readings on Women and Development in Malaysia
- A Sequel: Tracing Four Decades of Change

Project Leader:
Prof. Jamilah Ariffin

MPH Group Publishing

ISBN: 978-967-5222-14-6 (Hard cover)

ISBN: 978-967-5222-22-1 (Soft cover)


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