FINANCE Ministry advisory committee secretariat co-head Nurul Izzah Anwar emphasised the importance of narrowing the gender gap in Malaysia’s workforce during a fireside chat on the ‘Madani Economy’ at the Khazanah Megatrends forum this week.
Also present were Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Finance Ministry advisory committee member and economist Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi.
The ‘Madani Economy’ initiative introduced by the unity government aimed to comprehensively restructure Malaysia’s economy, making it a leading economic powerhouse in Asia.
The former Permatang Pauh MP stressed that achieving this goal requires addressing gender disparities, especially in employment.
Despite high female university enrolments, she highlighted that female graduates constitute 54.2% of the unemployed population, compared to 45.8% of males. To bridge this gap, the government plans to increase the female labour force participation rate to 60% under the Ekonomi MADANI framework.
Moreover, Budget 2023 allocates RM290 mil in grants, equivalent to 80% of SOCSO contributors’ salaries, benefiting over 130,000 women returning to work after childbirth.
The provision of childcare facilities at the workplace is also an important initiative to enable women to return to the workforce, according to Nurul Izzah.
She commended the Selangor and Penang state governments for initiating childcare facility programmes and also noted that the government has provided a grant scheme for the private sector to set up childcare centres at work premises to support women returning to work.
“The government plans to streamline childcare centre registration and expand whitelisting programmes nationwide, allocating RM10 mil for this purpose,” she added.
Addressing the lack of gender data in the informal sector, Nurul Izzah welcomed the Malaysian Official Open Data Portal.
Furthermore, she urged the private sector and communities to participate in government programmes, emphasising the importance of workplace gender equality for building a progressive and developed nation based on the principles of Madani. – Oct 6, 2023
Main photo credit: The Borneo Post