PETALING JAYA: There can be no developed Malaysia until the country is able to get women to realise their full potential and participate more effectively in the economic and social development of the nation, said Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.
Citing a study by the 2016 Peterson Institute for National Economics, she said the presence of more female leaders in top positions of corporate management correlates with increased profitability.
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister was speaking at the launch of the Women’s Institute of Management’s Conference on Integrity and Governance for Company Directors In the Public and Private Sectors.
“This proves that women are really needed in decision-making positions to boost the success of companies and subsequently, the Malaysian economy,” she said.
Rohani said that one ongoing effort to achieve this was the establishment of the 30 Percent Club, aimed at boosting the number of women holding top decision-making positions in the private sector.
She said the Government sought to grow the 30 Percent Club by strengthening its affiliation with similar clubs in other countries, such as Britain, the United States and China.
She added that the percentage of women on boards of public listed companies was at 11.8% as of September.
The ministry is also working with TalentCorp on a programme to encourage more women to return to the workforce, to bring women’s participation to 59% in line with the target set by the 11th Malaysia Plan.
Rohani said that while the number of women students attending institutes of higher learning was encouraging, their participation in the workforce often fluctuates.
“About 71% of university students are women and you’d expect a wider participation in the workforce but that is not the case, as they leave the workforce to start a family,” Rohani said at a press conference after the event.
As of last year, female participation in the workforce was 54.1%.
Earlier, in her speech, Rohani stressed the importance of integrity and good corporate governance.
“These are key drivers that determine not only the capacity of a nation to grow economically and inclusively, but also its competitiveness in the global market,” she said.
Rohani said it was imperative that all officials discharge their duty with high integrity and proper governance because the consequences of not doing so was huge.
“Combating mismanagement, abuse of power and corruption is crucial as these erode our values.
“There is an urgent need to ingrain integrity and good governance in our public and private institutions,” she said.
On a separate matter, Rohani said she also plans to urge the Transport Ministry to make child seats in cars mandatory, following the death of a two-year-old in Johor after he was accidentally flung out of his parents’ car.
“The Road Transport Department has mentioned the mandatory use of child seats in cars by 2019, which gives parents ample time to comply.
“But I would like to discuss expediting the move with the Transport Ministry to avoid a repeat of this tragedy,” she said, reminding parents to always make child safety a top priority.
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