12MP review: Steps taken to increase women’s labour participation to 60%

KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia targets increasing women’s participation in the labour force to 60% within a decade, efforts are being taken to encourage women to remain in the employment sector or to return to the workforce.

“The government will step up efforts to ensure that the target of 60% is achieved within 10 years,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said while tabling the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Sept 11).

This will be done with the provision of facilities and support such as childcare, financial incentives and flexible working hours.

To this end, he said programmes such as MamaCare, affordable daycare, Career Come Back Programme and nursery fee subsidies at work will be implemented.

“Women’s role in the care economy will be acknowledged to increase their participation in the workforce.

"This effort will also combat the challenge of a shrinking workforce as the result of an ageing nation,” he said.

However, Anwar added that this will require commitment from all parties including the private sector, civil society groups and a whole-of-nation approach to achieve.

On Aug 30, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said her ministry would focus on three points to increase women's labour participation from 56.2% to 60%.

This includes better policies and law, an ecosystem to support women and training, capacity building as well as upskilling and reskilling.

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