Cultural Norms and Gender Inequality in Malaysia


Hutchings, Katherine. 2000. “Cultural Norms and Gender Inequality in Malaysia.” Race, Gender & Class 7 (2): 122–48.

Author: Katherine Hutchings


This paper presents the findings of research conducted in Malaysia which examines the equity practices of Australian and Japanese Multinational Corporations (MNCs). These organizations make human resource management (HRM) policy decisions that are influenced by a combination of the cultural and social environments in which they operate and their own company policies (and associated corporate citizenship responsibilities). Against a background of social closure/inequality and corporate citizenship theories, this paper discusses cultural and social factors and their influence on current equity responses in the workplaces of selected MNCs in Malaysia. Importantly, it also draws attention to the underlying dynamic between ethnicity, class and gender in this country and how it may be used by MNCs as justification for not utilizing the practices observed in the developed world. It concludes that the companies are "taking the line of least resistance" in their decisions with national cultural and social inequality on gender (and racial and class) lines being upheld and reinforced at the workplace level.

Keywords: multinational corporation, social inequality, gender, race, class

Topics: Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity, Multi-National Corporations, Race Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Malaysia

Year: 2000

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