Budget 2023 must address gender gap in identified sectors, says NCWO

  • Nation
  • Friday, 30 Sep 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) hopes that Budget 2023 would, among others, address the gender gap in employment, the increasing unpaid care work that has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as improve the social security protection and access to rights and justice mechanisms.

Its president Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said investment in the childcare economy also needed to be stepped up to support women’s employment.

"Provide financial support for early childhood education and care providers who closed during the pandemic and provide incentives to encourage new models of childcare associated with the gig economy,” she told Bernama recently.

According to Sharifah Hapsah, Budget 2023 should encourage working from home and more flexible work arrangements for workers in both public and private sectors, for example staff can go to the office on rotation or staggered hours basis.

Despite the increase in the use of contactless and digital technology during the Covid-19 pandemic, she said there were issues of availability, accessibility and affordability for women especially those in the rural areas and in the B40 income group.

To integrate the new digital economy and new lifestyle, Sharifah Hapsah said NCWO would like to see higher tax reduction for purchase of digital devices, increased Internet coverage especially in rural areas and increased number of Pusat Internet Komuniti (PIK) across the country with 24-hour wifi.

Meanwhile, Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Datuk Dr Madeline Berma said Budget 2023 needed to focus on providing targeted subsidies to women in the B40 and B20 income groups who are heads of households to help ease their financial burden.

To help women deal with the rising cost of living, she proposed that Budget 2023 introduce incentives for the establishment of cooperatives in low-cost housing areas such as flats.

Madeline said incentives could also be given to households who engage in smart agriculture or urban garden cooperatives.

The 2023 Budget needs to be gender-conscious in every national recovery programme as well as provide opportunities to generate income, she added.

Capital A Berhad president (Ventures) Aireen Omar hopes that the 2023 Budget would introduce more incentives in the tourism sector to encourage people to go on vacation and further stimulate the economy involving women.

"Capital A's data shows that the majority of those who book flights and vacation packages are women who want to travel with their families, alone or in groups," she said.

Civil servant Siti Maslinda Hamzah, who has seven children, hopes the 2023 Budget would be more family-friendly because the increase in food prices is burdening those who have many children.- Bernama

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Budget 2023 , women , incentives , NCWO , gender


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