Malaysia plans to increase female workforce participation
This call was made by Goh Siu Lin, President of the Association of Women Lawyers, who said an inclusive and holistic ecosystem at the workplace is needed to increase women’s participation in the workforce.
Despite accounting for 15.7 million of the country’s 33.3 million population up to July, the issue of wage inequality, insufficient child and elderly care support and provision of reskilling programmes must be addressed.
She said, “We need to have gender quotas to effect substantive change, where women must be measured according to their capability. Women also bear the invisible load of childcare and are responsible for domestic chores, which are big and take up a lot of mental space. There should be some transparency on salaries and women should be recognised and given equality.”
While lauding plans to provide tax deductions to employers who introduce flexible working arrangements for mothers, more consideration must be given to provide access to affordable and accessible childcare support such as care centres, reported the New Sunday Times.
Focusing on upskilling and reskilling programmes that are targeted to women who have taken career breaks could also empower them to return to work, said Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) research and advocacy officer Anis Farid.
To empower women to have careers, and join the formal workforce, she also urged more effort to be taken to understand why women have not done so in the first place.