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Data: Voices of Malaysian Women on Discrimination & Harassment in the Workplace

DATA: & Women's Aid Organisation wanted to understand the type of harassment and discrimination women experience at the workplace.

Nov 11, 2022

This research is produced to understand "Malaysian Women’s current reality in the workforce, their challenges and awareness on harassment and discrimination in the workplace". This study is intended to be a reflection of the current environment working women and working mothers face within the workplace, and the challenges they faced during the movement control order period amidst COVID-19 earlier this year.

Methodology & Limitations

Survey questions were jointly developed by & Women's Aid Organisation (WAO). The survey was administered from 26th -28th September, 2020. Respondents were able to answer the survey in English and Bahasa Melayu. 1,010 responses were included in the final sample.


The survey was administered to’s online panel using an active quota sampling-method, where only people contacted are allowed to participate. Respondents aged between 24 - 55 years old were quota sampled according to census statistics on Race and Region By Gender.

Additionally, these respondents had to also be active in the workforce since the last 5 years to participate in this survey. This exclusion was included to administer the opinions of women who are active in the workforce most recently, and in efforts to identify the current workplace conditions where women may be subjected to certain environments or conditions that may equate to a form of harassment or discrimination.’s online panel ensures duplicate entries are prevented by the use of unique survey links and the limitation of one entry per link. Identifying demographic information was cross-validated with’s existing information on the survey respondent. Speed and straight line checking were also performed to exclude low quality responses.


Individuals aged 45 - 55 are underrepresented, likely due to lower rates of women active in the workforce since the last 5 years.

Demographic Breakdown

Some Insights from the research:

  • 71% women say they have heard about and think sexual harassment is an issue, while 21% say they have encountered a form of sexual harassment before and think it is a real issue. Only 2% have not heard of it.
  • 52% of women do not see the act of suggesting a coworker to make advances towards a client or potential client, as sexual harassment.
  • 15% of women do not consider unwelcome touching or grabbing to be a form of sexual harassment but classify it as unprofessional behavior.
  • 50% of women do not consider repeatedly making advances towards a person who has already declined them to be a form of sexual harassment but classify it as unprofessional behavior.
  • 42% of women do not consider the act of stalking, to be a form of sexual harassment but classify it as unprofessional behavior.
  • 39% of women say they have experienced offensive sexual jokes or innuendos in the workplace, during the course of their employment.
  • 47% of women say they were asked about their marital status during a job interview, while 22% were asked about their ability to perform certain tasks as a woman.
  • 27% women who currently have children say they received comments/questions about their ability to perform certain tasks while they were pregnant.
  • 23% women who have children do not feel they were given adequate paid maternity leave.
  • 23% of women say that after having a child and returning to work, they received negative comments/questions about leaving work on time to get home to their child, while 13% were overlooked for new projects or opportunities upon returning from maternity leave.
  • Among reasons mother's were impacted by the lack of supportive workplace policies for their child's father is having to do everything themselves, lacking in emotional and physical support, mothers themselves having to sacrifice in taking time off work, and lacking in moral support causing other relationship problems.
  • Common policies that women wish were in place for them are the flexibility to take time off work to care for their children, sexual harassment protection, longer paid maternity leaves, childcare facilities in the company, consideration for training or promotion, and many others.

This data is publicly available for use. If you are using this data, you would need to attribute the data to by stating "Survey conducted by in collaboration with Women's Aid Organisation (WAO). Find the data at ""

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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

The views and opinions expressed in the report above are an aggregate analysis taken from 1,010 respondents sampled according to Malaysian Census and Malaysian Internet Census data* as stated with the limitations above. This aggregate analysis does not necessarily mirror the values and opinions of Vase Technologies Sdn Bhd (1152290-M). Vase Technologies is the operator of a platform to collect user opinions, and as such will not take any liability for the statements above. In case of any damages or other liabilities arising, no party can be liable as the data above is taken in aggregate.


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