Women’s participation in labour force still low: PM

Women’s participation in labour force still low: PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The participation of women in the country’s labour market is still low compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said.

He said although females made up 47.7 per cent or almost half of the Malaysian population in 2020, women’s participation in the labour force last year was only 55.5 per cent.

“This rate is low compared to other Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore with 69.7 per cent and Thailand, 66.8 per cent.

“The enrolment rate of females 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 at the 60th National Women’s Day celebration at Dewan Perdana Felda here today.

The ceremony was graced by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah.

Ismail Sabri said the government at the National Social Council meeting 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.

The Prime Minister stressed that efforts to empower women should start from their basic needs, namely their ability to generate income to ensure the survival of themselves and their families.

Elaborating, he said several initiatives had been implemented, including the TEKUNNita programme under the National Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (TEKUN Nasional) involving an allocation of RM19.9 million for 2022, 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 RM10 million 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, adding that the programme has benefited 10,496 women from the B40 group since it was implemented in April 2021 until July 2022.

In addition, 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.

The Prime Minister said he had also instructed government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) to have at least 30 per cent 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 per cent women on their board of directors,” he said. – Bernama