Female labour force must be utilised: Wan Azizah

PUTRAJAYA: The female labour force in Malaysia must be mobilised to help it attain developed nation and high-income status, according to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pix).

She said the latest data showed that women participation in the labour market was at 55.2% last year compared to men whose participation was at 80.4%.

“This clearly shows that there are many women who are capable but whose talents are not utilised,” said Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Minister of Women, Family and Community Development.

“Many studies have found that there is a big gap in economic opportunities between women and men,” she said in her speech at the launch of the 2019 National Women and Family Convention, here today. The text of her speech was read out by her deputy minister, Hannah Yeoh.

Dr Wan Azizah said a woman could be the only breadwinner in her family or a multi-talented entrepreneur.

“We are good at muti-tasking. We all know the joy and pain of performing diverse roles,” she said.

Wan Azizah also said her ministry viewed seriously the issues of abuse and suppression faced by women.

“We want to tackle these issues carefully to ensure that the steps taken are really efficient and effective,” she said.

On the Budget 2020 tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng last Friday, Dr Wan Azizah said there were many new initiatives which had a direct or indirect effect on the well-being of women and their families.

“Today, the fertility rate in Malaysia has dropped drastically from 4.9 birth rate in the 70s to 1.9 birth rate per woman.

“To help a couple get fertility treatment, the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) will introduce a new withdrawal category to enable them undergo fertility treatment such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF),“ she said.

With Budget 2020 which is balanced and comprehensive, the objective of increasing women participation in economics and close the gender gap could be achieved, she said. — Bernama

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