PETALING JAYA (March 5): A study has ranked Malaysia as the 10th safest country for women out of 14 countries in the Asia Pacific region in 2018.
The research by Value Champion looked at the aspects of safety, healthcare and opportunities for women in the 14 countries .
Singapore and New Zealand shared the top spot as the safest countries for women in Asia Pacific with impressive healthcare, safety and opportunity indicators. Australia came in third, followed by Japan and Taiwan.
Malaysia in 10th place was followed by China, the Philippines, Indonesia and India respectively. The latter three countries were found to be the most dangerous places for women. All of these countries were found to have subpar access to healthcare, lax laws regarding women's safety, poor access to family planning resources and overall inequality.
Malaysia still has a lot of room to improve when it comes to healthcare and opportunities for women.
The safety level for women in APAC countries
Source: Value Champion
The research focused on aspects of safety (highest weightage), followed by healthcare and opportunity as the main indicators. The safety ranking examines legal protections and quality of life in a country. in addition to using global indices such as the Human Development Index and the Global Peace Index, the research also looked at the number of legal protections against common crimes committed against women: marital rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence.
The healthcare ranking examines medical access and freedom of family planning choices for women and opportunity examines education and employment participation. We looked at family planning laws (abortion laws, contraception laws and access to sexual education), infant and maternal mortality rates, government healthcare spending and life expectancy.
Lastly, the opportunity ranking measured a woman's access to employment (female employment rate) and education (literacy rates and mean years of schooling) and the country's wage gap (using gross national income per capita). While not a direct indicator of a country's safety, access to education and employment were deemed important because they showed a culture's perception of women — high employment rates and literacy rates can be translated to a society where women are generally accepted among men.
Japan, often considered the safest country in the world is ranked fourth.
“Japan’s great healthcare and record low crime rates make it one of the safest countries in Asia for women. However, while women indeed lead healthy and fulfilling lives, there is a significant problem with unreported sexual assault and discrimination.
“With 95% of sexual assault cases unreported, no concrete anti-discrimination laws and domestic abuse remaining a serious problem, Japan’s overall safety is undercut by female-specific abuses. Thus, while living as a woman in Japan is not outright dangerous in the traditional sense, everyday life clearly still runs the risk of being uncomfortable,” said research analyst at ValueChampion Singapore Anastassia Evlanova in a report on the research.
“With the rise of the #MeToo movement (movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault) and female-led protests around the globe against sexual assault, the reality about the day-to-day quality of life for females is surfacing.
“Unfortunately, even countries deemed to be relatively risk-free for women have their fair share of gender-specific injustices, whether it's low-quality healthcare, fear of reporting crimes, or lack of education, employment opportunities and independence. However, amidst the grim reality, there are definitely cities where women flourish and are able to live free of fear,” she said.