KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — The government has embarked on a dedicated journey towards achieving inclusive development in Malaysia, including acknowledging that women empowerment plays a pivotal role in driving the country’s overall prosperity.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the government is committed towards placing importance on the empowerment of women and the advancement of the people at large through the Malaysia Madani concept.

This concept, he said, represents a unique blend of traditional Malaysian practices and innovative approaches to tackle emerging issues and uncertainties, founded on the principle of embracing change, incorporating feedback from all segments of the society to drive substantive reforms for a more advanced and prosperous Malaysia.

“In Malaysia, we have made significant strides in advancing women’s rights and gender equality. We have implemented policies to increase women’s participation in the workforce, enhance access to education and healthcare, and protect women from violence and discrimination.

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“When women are empowered, they not only transform their own lives but also the lives of those around them, creating ripple effects that benefit entire communities and nations,” he said during his speech at the soft launch of the Muslim World Women’s Summit 2024, here tonight.

Aiming to pave the way for the summit, scheduled for June this year, the soft launch was also attended by Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad and director-general of the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade, Latifa El Bouabdellaoui.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also rural and regional development minister, said as Islam emphasises the importance of education for both genders, it is imperative that all parties open access to quality education and skills development for Muslim women and ensuring that they have equal access to education from an early age.

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By encouraging them to pursue higher education men and women, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities, Ahmad Zahid said this will equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in various fields.

“By addressing these areas and implementing comprehensive strategies, I believe Malaysia and other Muslim nations can create an environment where Muslim women have the opportunities and support needed to break barriers, realise their potential and contribute significantly to the nation’s progress and development.

“Together, we can uplift, support, and empower women, not only within our own societies but across the diverse tapestry of the Islamic world,” he said.

He also urged the summit’s participants to seize this opportunity to amplify the voices of women, champion their causes and work collectively towards a future where every woman can thrive and make her mark on the world. — Bernama