Get to know us: Centre for Gender Research (CGR) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

The Centre for Gender Research (CGR), or in Malay, Pusat Penyelidikan Gender (PPG), is a research center under the administration of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. CGR was established on July 1, 2003. The mission of CGR is to become a center of excellence that seeks to enhance knowledge and expertise in the field of gender studies so that information gathered and the skills acquired through its activities will contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the peoples of Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

CGR aspires:

• To be a recognized research center in the field of gender studies
• To bring together a network of scholars from a variety of disciplines within social sciences, humanities and science and technology from within and without Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia to develop and promote gender studies
• To serve as a national and regional research and resource center in the field of gender studies.

Since the existence of the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of and Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), most Southeast Asian governments have taken action and devised initiatives to empower women and improve their lives to achieve gender equity, development and peace. Although considerable progress has been made in the advancement of women, new and significant global, regional and local events have emerged with consequences for women and inter-gender relations. The rapid globalization of the economy, armed conflicts, international migration and financial crisis have affected women more negatively than men. There are still many issues and challenges not understood or which remain unresolved - for example, the under-representation of women in decision-making roles in political and government bodies, private and multi-national companies; the feminization of poverty; gender related crimes; domestic violence; unequal business opportunities for men and women; and laws dealing with work, marriage, divorce, child care and inheritance that do not favour women.

In order to sustain and reinforce efforts in minimizing the gender gap in the fields of politics, law, education and economy, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries must not just examine and re-examine existing policies and programmes on women and development but must also broaden their research scope to include the significance of gender in shaping the experiences of individuals and communities as well as to include the structure and relations of power between men and women.

In an effort to assist Malaysia and the region fulfill the above needs, CGR undertakes, stimulates, and supports short term and long term research projects on gender issues in development. These issues can be analyzed or discussed in relation to the following areas:

• Cultural constructs of the body (e.g., sexuality; gender ideology; gender categories; customs, practices, gender images, attitudes, perceptions; gender related linguistic behaviour)
• Democracy, politics and law (e.g., social policies; role of mass media; civil society; women's movements; participation of women in religious organizations; feminism; leadership; legal reforms)
• Economy, labour and work (e.g., gender and work; gender gap in the corporate sector; women's economic associations and networks; entrepreneurship, men and women in formal and informal sectors; gender and multi-national companies; labour migration)
• Family, well being and household strategies (e.g., intergenerational, intergender and intragender dynamics; caring for the young and the aged; gender and health; domestic conflicts; divorce)
• Education and human development (e.g., gender socializations in institutions of learning; youth programs; classroom management; gender and pedagogy; gender and curriculum development)
• Science, technology and human development (e.g., gender and medical afflictions; gender and health; gender, information and communication technology)

The activities of CGR include the following:

• Design and conduct research programmes and activities that address and resolve gender issues in development in Malaysia or other Southeast Asian countries;
• Disseminate research findings on gender and development through publications, forums, seminars and conferences;
• Manage and regulate linkages and networks with key national, regional and global institutions concerned with gender studies;
• Establish linkages with agencies and organizations within and without Malaysia to secure funds and grants for research projects, collaborative research, scholarly exchanges and attachments programmes;
• Bring together scholars, government officials, people in the industry and social activists to interact and assist one another in the formulation of effective policies in the relevant areas
• Serve as a national and regional research and resource center in the field of gender studies.

In order to achieve its objectives, CGR is governed in the following manner. CGR is located within the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities. The Head of CGR is appointed by the Vice-Chancellor of UKM for a three-year term. At present, CGR is headed by Associate Professor Dr. Bahiyah Dato' Abd. Hamid. The Head is assisted by a Steering Committee consisting of seven members, including the Head. The committee meets four times in an academic year in order to plan and monitor the activities of CGR. The General Centre Meeting (GCM) takes place twice a year in order to address concerns expressed by associate fellows. Financially, CGR receives some support from the university. It is required to raise its own funding for special projects and activities.

In the next three to five years, CGR strives to be a focal point for gender research not only in Malaysia but in Southeast Asia. This is in line with UKM's mission of internationalization. In order to achieve this goal, CGR seeks to foster relationships with like-minded institutions. Researchers (lecturers and students) who are interested in gender studies are encouraged to have an attachment with CGR. The attachment could be in two forms: associate fellowship or internship. It is hoped that researchers, especially students, will come to CGR for future work on gender studies.

Associate Professor Rashila Ramli (PhD)
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia