Growing up Female in Multi-Ethnic Malaysia: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Growing up Female in Multi-Ethnic Malaysia

1st Edition

By Cynthia Joseph


212 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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This book provides a rich, detailed analysis of the experiences of young women growing up in post-colonial, rapidly modernizing Malaysia. It considers the impact of ethnicity, socio-economic status, and school experiences and achievement. It discusses the effects of Malaysia’s ethnic affirmative action programmes and of the country’s Islamisation. It sets out and compares the life trajectories of Malay, Indian and Chinese young women, making use of interview and questionnaire data gathered over a long period. It thereby depicts individuals’ transformations as they experience maturing into adulthood against a background of social and economic changes, and varying levels of inter-racial tension.


"…this book is a useful and insightful addition to a research canon concerned with analysing the shifting and curious convolution of ethnicity and state politics that characterize contemporary Malaysia. A recommended read. "

Sara Ashencaen Crabtree


Vol. 30, No. 2

"This is a persuasive and compelling book […] Joseph’s study of young females within the schooling

system strikes at the heart of the many questionings and critiques of the NEP."

Maznah Mohamad

Pacific Affairs

Volume 89, No. 3 – September 2016

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Ethnicities in Postcolonial Malaysia 2. Education in the 21st Century 3. Young Women in Multiethnic Malaysia 4. Parkview Girls High School 5. Academically High-achieving Girls 6. Academically Low Achieving Girls 7. Post-school Education and Training 8. Becoming Workers: Occupational Destinations 9. Becoming Women: Marriage, Sexuality and Gender Relations

About the Author

Cynthia Joseph is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia.

About the Series

ASAA Women in Asia Series

The primary aim of this important series is to publish original, high quality work on all aspects of women in Asia. Submissions are welcomed from prospective authors, both new and established scholars, working in any appropriate discipline, and should in the first instance be sent to the series editor. Email:


Editorial Board:

Hyaeweol Choi (The Australian National University)

Michele Ford (The University of Sydney)

Trude Jacobsen (Northern Illinois University)

Lenore Lyons (Independent scholar)

Vera Mackie (University of Wollongong)

Anne McLaren (The University of Melbourne)

Mina Roces (University of New South Wales)

Dina Siddiqi (New York University)

Andrea Whittaker (The University of Queensland)

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General