Women’s participation in Malaysia’s workforce remains low

Although females made up 47.7% of the Malaysian population in 2020, their participation in the labour force last year was only 55.5%.
By: | August 29, 2022

According to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, this rate is low compared to other South-East Asian countries such as Singapore with 69.7% and Thailand’s 66.8%. 

“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,” Ismail said at an event to commemorate Malaysia’s 60th National Women’s Day celebrations.

To improve this, the government has agreed to set up Gender Focal Points and Gender Focal Teams 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 PM 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 (US$4.45 million) for 2022, which has benefited 1,264 women entrepreneurs so far. 

In addition, the government has introduced the Wanita Bangkit@KPWKM programme, involving strategic cooperation with over 50 public and private agencies to offer employment opportunities and entrepreneurial activities, which has benefitted over 40,000 women across the country. 

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Ismail said he had also instructed government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies to have at least 30% of women board members before their annual general meeting in 2023, according to FMT.