Crucial to create supportive environment to retain women in workforce, panellist says

A panellist at a forum today said more initiatives are needed to encourage women to stay in the workforce. — Reuters pic
A panellist at a forum today said more initiatives are needed to encourage women to stay in the workforce. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — More initiatives need to be put in place to encourage women to stay in the workforce, a panellist at a forum said today.

Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s Deputy Undersecretary, Policy Division (Community Development), Chua Choon Hwa said the government had set a target of 59 per cent for  women participation in the workforce by 2020.

Currently, women participation in the workforce is 54.1 per cent as compared to their male peers which is 80.1 per cent.

However, Chua said the target could be derailed if no proper action was taken to address concerns of women in the workforce as many women who were still in their productive period were likely to drop out of the workforce in order to start and care for the family.

“To retain them, we need to address their concerns, such as to set up more childcare centres so they are willing to leave their children there and go to work, and create a supportive environment that will enable them to be retained in the industry,” he said at the ‘Malaysia’s Population in 2050: What Does This mean Socio-Economically?’ forum organised by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis) here, today.

Chua added women sustainability in the country’s future workforce was also pertinent as with lower fertility rate among Malaysian women, and while the country was fast becoming an aging nation by 2035, the situation could give an impact to the economy.

Fertility among Malaysian women now stands at two children per woman from 6.2 children at Independence. It is expected to decrease further to 1.7 child per woman by 2040. — Bernama

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