MALAYSIA has the third lowest female labour force participation rate in the Asean region. At 56%, it is just slightly higher than Indonesia and Philippines but much lower than Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. According to responses to the Malaysian Labour Force Survey in 2018,60.2% of women who are not part of the labour force cited housework, including child and elderly care, as the main reason for not seeking work.
Hence, it is vital to address the social norms where the responsibility of caring for a family member or raising a family is left solely on the woman. Our society needs to encourage a more balanced relationship and 50/50 partnership in a household. Husbands and wives need to share housework and childcare equally, especially when both are employed full time.
Macroeconomic simulation implies that closing gaps between men’s and women’s economic opportunities could boost Malaysia’s income per capita by 26.2%, an average annual income gain of RM9,400 for every Malaysian.