KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's investment in education, without gender discrimination, has yielded results beyond the Government's expectation, said the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Speaking at the 3rd Global Conference on Women Deliver 2013, Najib said 65 percent of students in institutions of tertiary educations here are women.
"A girl at school in Malaysia today is more likely to go to University than her male classmates.
"Although we have the same number of girls and boys enrolled in school, higher education rates are greater for women," he said on Tuesday.
However, he agreed that enrolment was only the first step.
"For Malaysia, as for many countries, the challenge is to ensure that success in the classroom carries over into life outside it, that the world of opportunity for girls and women does not narrow upon graduation, but opens up," he said, adding that women were not equally represented in the country's workforce, currently standing at 47 percent.
"More jobs aligned to women's needs should be offered to encourage their participation in the workforce, such as through home-based, part-time or flexible working hours," he said in his speech.
Citing several Malaysian women he described as superstar players including Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Najib said their successes showed the country in its best light.
"I know that a few superstar players do not mean that the field is level.
"We have taken clear steps towards a more equitable nation in education, healthcare and in wage equality but there is still much more to be done," he said.
Speaking about the country's successes in the development of and empowerment of women, Najib pointed out that Malaysia had made great progress in of maternal healthcare.
"Thanks to strategic, focused and targeted interventions, thousands of women and children in Malaysia are able to survive and enjoy a good quality of life," he said, adding that Malaysia was prepared to provide technical support to countries with persistently high maternal mortality.
He also called on health advocates and experts to engage with faith leaders to dispel negative perceptions, which stand in the way of women empowerment.