Women’s participation in the country’s labour force is still low compared to other South-East Asian countries, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said that despite females making up 47.7% or almost half of the Malaysian population in 2020, women’s participation in the country’s labour force was at 55.5% in 2021, compared to Thailand with 66.8% and Singapore with 69.7%.
“The enrolment rate of women in all levels of education whether primary, secondary or tertiary was high but in terms of participation in the labour market, women’s involvement is low,” he said, reported Bernama.
He said this at the 60th National Women’s Day celebration at Dewan Perdana Felda, where the ceremony was also graced by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.
Ismail said the government through the National Social Council (NSC) has agreed to set up the Gender Focal Point and Gender Focal Team at all ministries and agencies, to increase women’s participation through gender mainstreaming in the planning and implementation stages of government policies and initiatives.
He also said that efforts to empower women should start from their basic needs, which is their ability to generate income to ensure the survival of themselves and their families.
He added that the government has implemented several initiatives, including the TEKUNNita programme under the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun Nasional), which has benefited 1,264 women entrepreneurs so far.
“As of July 31, a total of 265 participants received funding through the DanaNita programme with an allocation of RM10mil under Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).”
“Meanwhile, the ‘MyKasih Kapital’ programme is implemented to provide one-off business capital assistance of RM500 to encourage women to do business,” he said.
Besides, Ismail said the government has introduced the Wanita Bangkit@KPWKM programme, which involves strategic cooperation with over 50 public and private agencies, to offer employment opportunities and entrepreneurial activities and has benefited over 40,000 women across the country.
He also said he has instructed government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) to have at least 30% of women board members before their annual general meeting in 2023.
“Thankfully, to date, some 210 out of 900 private limited companies have more than 30% women on their boards of directors,” he said.