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Breakfast discussion on women and party politics

Strengthening the participation and representation of women in Germany and Malaysia

This session was an interactive exchange between experts and participants from Malaysia and Germany on how we could promote inclusivity in politics as well as how to strengthen women participation and representation across the social spectrum.

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On Friday, 23 June 2023, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) organised a breakfast discussion on women’s participation and representation in Malaysia and Germany, where we invited two speakers from each country to share their research studies on this topic. This event was part of the delegation visit from KAS Malaysia office to Brussels and Berlin.


The discussion was moderated by Isabel Weininger, Policy Advisor on Southeast Asia at KAS Berlin, where we started off by having Dr. Ummu Atiyah Binti Ahmad Zakuan, who is a professor and lecturer at the School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia shares the findings from her study on challenges for women in political parties in Malaysia and acceleration strategies to leadership in politics. She presented the similar challenges faced by women in the political parties in the past and in the present, concluding that women still lag behind men in politics despite educational advancement in the country.


Then, we have Dominik Hirndorf, Policy Advisor at the Electoral and Social Research Department of KAS Berlin presenting his research on a representation survey on participation of women in Germany. He shared the research methods and interview questions on the attitudes of people in Europe (Germany, Italy, Croatia, Poland and Sweden) towards the perception of gender equality, stereotypes and gender roles. The statistics from the study are significantly interesting as there are different perspectives of different national populations on women’s representation and participation.


After the sharing from our two speakers, we have noticed a number of differences between Malaysia and Germany in terms of the level of awareness, yet also many similarities, especially on the challenges that women faced in society. Furthermore, the percentage of women participation and representation in politics in both countries is still quite low and requires more work to change such landscape.


During the Q&A session, we also had questions and sharing from the other participants. We had one young women from Peru and another from Egypt sharing the same struggles in their respective countries where women find it extremely difficult to take part in politics and, if they do, they need to choose between their family or politics, which is clearly an added-value to the discussion and serves as a reflection that all regions have a similar story when it comes to women participation and representation in politics. We also discussed partly the issue of whether quotas is a good mechanism to put forward, though we need to be reminded that quotas is not a discount.


One of the key takeaways from the breakfast discussion is to make changes through legislation and at the same time creating a right and mature environment for women to participate in politics. On top of this, awareness and recognition should go along together in order to increase the number of women in this public domain.


You may find the link of the study here:

Malaysia: Challenges for Women in Political Parties in Malaysia and Acceleration Strategies to Leadership in Politics

Germany: Right in the Middle, not out on the Sidelines? – Representation and Participation of Women in Europe


Report written by Likhedy Touchy

Abteilung Asien und Pazifik | Department Asia and the Pacific Europäische und Internationale Zusammenarbeit (EIZ) | European and International Cooperation (EIC)


Friday, 23 June 2023


09.00 - 09.05 am

Welcome remarks by Christian Echle, Director Asia and the Pacific Department, Division European and International Cooperation, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. Berlin


09.00 – 09.15 am

Presentation Malaysia: Challenges for Women in Political Parties in Malaysia and Acceleration Strategies to Leadership in Politics by Associate Prof. Dr. Ummu Atiyah binti Ahmad Zakuan, Professor at School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur


09:15 – 09:25 am

Presentation Germany: A Representative Survey on Participation and Representation of Women in Germany by Dominik Hirndorf, Department Electoral and Social Research | Division Analysis and Consulting, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. Berlin


09:25 –10:30 am

Discussion on Women and Party Politics - Strengthening the Participation and Representation Germany and Malaysia

Moderator: Isabel Weininger, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. Berlin

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Akademie der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Tiergartenstr. 35, 10785 Berlin