Defying Stereotypes

How does it feel like to be part of the minority at the workplace? Berita Sunway talks to employees who work in jobs typically associated with the opposite sex to find out whether gender equality exists in the workplace.
  • Defying Stereotypes
  • Equal representation is important because both genders can bring their own unique skills to complement their jobs.

Mutual Respect Empowers Women– SAIMAH ABDUL JALIL, Security Officer, Sunway Control –

Working with mostly male colleagues has never intimidated Saimah Abdul Jalil, who was a policewoman before joining Sunway Control as a security officer in 2007.

“I had absolutely no fears or concerns when joining the control unit because everyone here has a mutual respect for one another,” she says. “This makes it very easy to integrate within the force, despite it being dominated by mostly men.”

Women officers are better suited to handle cases involving female suspects and victims, as it may be deemed inappropriate for male officers to interrogate or pat down the suspects, Saimah explains, adding that this is why the Sunway Group management stations female officers at Sunway University, Monash University Malaysia, Sun-U Residence, Sunway Monash Residence, Sunway Hotels and Sunway Malls.

“Equal representation is important because both genders can bring their own unique skills to complement their jobs. Women security officers use a gentle, more caring approach towards suspects and victims to get required information. Men have a decisive approach to handling cases, as to complete a technical task,” she says.

At her workplace, Saimah observes that while there are more men holding managerial positions, she has not experienced any discrimination as a female employee, as her supervisors regard subordinates with an equal standing and treat women with respect. “When I first started working in 2007, there were only about 20 other women patrolling in the whole of Sunway City. Now I see an almost equal amount of male and female officers in every station. Maybe there should be initiatives to help female officers rise up to more managerial positions, like a training programme or test requirement to precede a promotion to a higher position,” she says.

Gaining The Trust of All– MUHAMAD ALFATEH BIN YUSOFF, Wound Care Nurse, Diabetic Care Centre –

Undeterred by the stereotype that nursing is a female profession, Muhamad Alfateh Bin Yusoff joined Sunway Medical Centre as a wound care nurse this year, motivated by his desire to help others through his job.

He describes the nursing profession as, “universal as love itself.” “Nursing is associated with loving, tender care and this is often pictured as a woman’s job – I beg to disagree. Anyone can carry out a nursing job so long as they have the passion and love to do it,” he says.

At his workplace, Alfateh says his supervisors and colleagues do not treat him differently from his female colleagues. However, gender discrimination comes in the form of patients’ personal preferences – older female patients who prefer women nurses to attend to them, he says.

“A patient’s refusal does not mean a nurse is incompetent or not good enough to manage the patient. Some patients are choosier and will refuse male nurses, so we have to prove our worth. Personally, I work on gaining the trust of not just the female nurses but the patients too. Then only can we work together without any discrimination,” says Alfateh.

The plus point in having men in the nursing profession is that being physically stronger, they are able to manage heavy lifting and help their teammates, says Alfateh, adding that male patients can be attended to by male nurses too.


This article first appeared in Berita Sunway Issue 63

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