‘Grandparents can play a vital role’

Yeoh (with scarf) trying out Indian snacks at the launch of Great Indian Deepavali Baazar by Caring Moms at Sunway Nexis in Kota Damansara. — Low Boon Tat/The Star

GRANDPARENTS who are still able and fit should extend care for their grandchildren as this would allow parents, especially mothers, to stay in the workforce.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh suggested this at the launch of the Great Indian Deepavali Baazar by Caring Moms at Sunway Nexis in Kota Damansara.

“I encourage grandparents to help look after their grandchildren as this will help more women to stay in the workforce and contribute to the nation,” she said.

Participation of men in the workforce currently stands at 80.1%.

“For a lot of women, there are two times in their lives where they face a potential withdrawal from the workforce.

“First is when they have children and second is when they have ill parents who need care,” said Yeoh.

Yeoh said starting Jan 1, all government premises are required to provide childcare facilities for their staff and this will be used to set an example for the private sector to follow suit.

“This will give the Government the authority to then tell the private sector how the government sector did it.

“People always talk about profit and cite their day-to-day business expenses as among the reasons for not providing proper childcare initiatives,” said Yeoh.

Yeoh hopes the private sector could look into providing childcare facilities or subsidies to their employees.

Civil servants with families that earn less than RM5,000 were given RM180 for each child as a subsidy.

“We want to encourage both the government and private sector to make it easy, especially for women, to work with peace of mind. A proper support structure is important,” she said.

On another matter, Yeoh said some 20,000 child abuse cases were recorded from 2013 to this year.

The highest number of cases were by primary caregivers who are mothers with 7,564 cases and followed by fathers with 5,012.

Some 3,262 cases of abuse were by the children’s partners (those below 18 are still considered children, and the abuse is either inflicted by their boyfriend or girlfriend).

The Great Indian Deepavali Baazar by Caring Moms at Sunway Nexis in Kota Damansara attracted some 100 vendors who were mothers and they sold homemade treats, meals and garments.

Caring Moms founder Mejar Shera Anna Bosco said the platform has created some 2,000 jobs for women and continues to inspire more women to join.

“We started Caring Moms to empower women, especially mothers who had to quit their jobs while they were busy caring for their children.

“They are able to grow their hobbies into business opportunities,” she said.

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