Getting women back to work by addressing childcare needs 

The Malaysian government has been urged to invest in more childcare options to encourage more women to re-enter the workforce.
By: | August 1, 2023

The Malaysian government should encourage women to return to work by setting up more childcare facilities, such as childcare centres and nurseries, for working mums, suggested Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal, Professor of Law in family, women, and children at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Citing how increasing the number of childcare facilities would be beneficial for working parents to concentrate on their work, she called for government funding to be invested in qualified employees who not only can care for children but can also create age-appropriate activities that develop children’s knowledge and skill.

Working parents, Datuk Noor explained, would be more likely to return to the workforce if they were assured that their children were under professional care.  “If the focus is on empowering women in the industry, then yes, the quality of childcare centres is paramount,” she said.

At the recent launch of the “Madani Economy: Empowering the People” blueprint, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that the government wanted to increase women’s participation in the workforce, which currently stands at 55.5% in comparison to their male counterparts at 80.9%. One way to do so would be through infusing RM $10 million (USD $2.19 million) in streamlining the registration process to expand the childcare centre and nursery whitelisting programme, said the Prime Minister.

READ MORE: Taiwan considers more support for working parents

This allocation has been welcomed by Mary Shanthi Dairiam, Director, International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific, who said this would create more affordable childcare options for parents. She also urged the government to allocate funds to encourage organisations to appoint qualified women for senior roles in organisations, in return for incentives, such as tax waivers, and wage-subsidy incentive models, reported New Straits Times.