KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — The rise in the level of education among Malaysian women has had a positive effect on the country’s economic growth, said Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad.
This is because women play important roles in both the socioeconomic welfare of the family and the development of the country, she added.
The Parit Sulong MP shared that in 2021, women owned roughly 20.6 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which contributed almost RM70 billion to Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) and offered nearly 800,000 jobs worth RM11.1 billion.
“A study by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that the increase in the level of education among women has contributed to an increase of economic growth by almost 50 per cent in OECD countries over the past 50 years,” said Noraini.
The Wanita Umno leader said women have also played a massive role in making Malaysia an international education hub, adding that last year, there were more women than men working and studying in public institutions
“In 2021, there were more female staff, at 56.8 per cent, compared to men, which stood at 43.2 per cent in our public higher education institutions. These institutions also housed more female students, with a 61 per cent occupancy rate.
“In addition, almost 60 per cent of more than 15,000 Higher Education Ministry staff are women. Based on these figures, I expect great achievement among Malaysian women in the near future,” she said.
Noraini is currently in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada attending the the 65th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC), organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), and shared that her experience there has strengthened her efforts to empower female MPs and promote diversity and intersectionality in Malaysia.
She said that during the conference, there was a proposal handed in by the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) during a CPA executive committee meeting to increase the participation of women to equal or at least 33 per cent as excos in the CPA.
According to Noraini, the proposal by CWP is to ensure that the voices, opinions and issues related to women are given priority.
“In this regard, I also shared initiatives in support of efforts to empower female MPs and promote diversity or intersectionality. In our country, only 33 or 14.9 per cent of the 222 members of Dewan Rakyat are women.
“This number is small compared to the female population, which makes up almost half, or 47.7 of Malaysia’s 32.5 million people,” she added.