PUTRAJAYA: While acknowledging that efforts to empower women still need some work to be done, the government has taken measures to ensure that women continue to participate in nation-building through economic initiatives and encouraging shared responsibility, says the Prime Minister.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he had asked the Human Resources Ministry and Public Service Department to explore several initiatives to encourage shared responsibility and to allow women to remain in the workforce.
“I have asked the authorities to look into expanding the work-from-home facility for employees in the public and private sector, where full pay will be given to those taking care of family members who are ageing and ill.
“This facility should also be extended to men so that they could help and support wives to care for newborn babies, ” he said in his speech in conjunction with Women’s Day 2021 celebration.
The authorities have also been asked to see if the work-from-home facilities could be extended to men and women whose spouses have passed away, to allow them to look into matters and manage issues following the demise, he added.
Muhyiddin said among issues that were restraining women were stigma and stereotypes that limited their role in certain fields, domestic violence and sexual harassment.
“Women’s involvement in decision-making has still not been given due attention.
“I am told that there are still government-linked and government investment companies which have not appointed a woman as a board of director, ” he said.
He pointed out that as of October last year, only 25.4% of 100 top companies listed on Bursa Malaysia had successfully delivered their commitment to having at least 30% women on their board.
He said the double burden faced by women in having to balance the demands of work and managing the family was also an issue, adding that based on a study, women spent 63.6% more time on unpaid care work compared to men.
“Another issue is the lack of involvement among all in preparing an environment that supports and encourages women empowerment, ” said Muhyiddin.
He also said that at the same time, a safe working environment including preventive measures against sexual harassment must be created so that women could continue to play their part in nation-building.
Muhyiddin also said the importance of workplaces was in ensuring all aspects of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programmes used gender analysis through a gender-responsive budget.
He said that in drawing up post-Covid-19 recovery plans for the country, the government had ensured that women would directly benefit from its economic stimulus initiatives, including Prihatin, Penjana and Permai, and Budget 2021.
As an addition to existing incentives, the government is in the midst of preparing MyKasih Kapital, an initiative to inject capital for e-businesses or dropship with a maximum capital of RM1,000 to at least 2,000 eligible recipients, Muhyiddin added.
“The government will also set up Skuad Waja, which will provide psycho-social support, and increases awareness on crime so that violence against women can be put to a stop. The squad will also help educate women on their rights, ” he said.