KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is unhappy with the private sectors slow response to its incentives to provide child daycare centres at the workplace and has asked the Women and Family Development Ministry to find out why.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said it was unclear why some of the measures to encourage employers to be women-friendly had not produced the desired impact.
He said measures to encourage women to join the workforce included tax deductions for employers for providing childcare centres at or near their workplaces.
Abdullah said the Government would not compel employers to set up such centres but reminded them that they should heed this call if they had concern for their employees welfare.
If employers care for their staff, it will result in the staff being happy and productive and having job satisfaction, he told reporters after opening the Women Summit 2003, themed Women@Work, in conjunction with Womens Day at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel yesterday.
Abdullah also asked the Women and Family Development Ministry to come up with ways to improve the dissemination of information on government policies and measures which had specific relevance to women.
He said that about 7.6 million women (of the 11.7 million female population) were between the ages of 15 and 64 but only 46% of them were in the workforce.
He said womens participation in the workforce in Malaysia had shown a positive increase but it was low compared to developed countries like Sweden (66%), Denmark (60%), the United States (59.9%) and Britain (54.5%).
Abdullah said women played an important role in the employment market and in the decision-making process, and that the public and private sectors needed to be more gender-sensitive.
He said the Government was looking at innovative ways to improve womens access to new technologies and was re-examining traditional ways of working.
He said that as new technologies were limited to those with access, the Government was also looking at traditional methods to encourage women to work through self-reliance and self-employment.
On the safety of women, Abdullah gave an assurance that more would be done to enhance womens welfare, safety and security.
He said the Government viewed women's safety seriously and would monitor the situation continuously.
Abdullah also said the police had been asked to be more women-friendly and place womens safety higher on their agenda. He also urged employers to increase workplace safety.
To Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalils comment that there were few women decision-makers, including in the Government, Abdullah said this would inevitably change as more women were educated, as the Government did not discriminate when giving out posts.
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