Nancy: More efforts needed to empower women

PETALING JAYA: The Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry is urging for a doubling of efforts to empower women, particularly in terms of economic equity. 

Its Minister, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, said that women comprise nearly 50 per cent of Malaysia's population and are disproportionately affected by economic and social challenges. 

"Every ringgit, every minute, and every effort invested into the lives and wellbeing of our women is a collective investment into the future of Malaysia.

"In striving for gender equality and unlocking the full potential of women, the ministry remains committed to implementing a range of initiatives. 

"Empowering Malaysian women to be self-reliant and diminish dependency on others is crucial for their continued growth and resilience," she said during her address at the International Women's Day Celebration 2024, held here today. 

Nancy said this year, over 2.3 million young women aged between 25 and 34 will navigate pivotal life stages, including entering the workforce, establishing households, and starting families. 

"However, they will face difficult dilemmas, whether to continue working and climb the career ladder to ensure their own personal social protection.

"Or to sacrifice and give up all of that in order to shoulder the 'responsibility' of caring for family members, whether children, parents, or siblings, in-laws, or in-laws." 

Nancy further underscored the challenges faced by women in Malaysia, noting that while they outnumber men in universities, their representation in the workforce remains disproportionately low, with many forced to exit their careers due to family commitments. 

"Women outnumber men in universities, but only 56.2 per cent of the female population is employed, compared to 81.9 per cent for men; furthermore, women in the age group of 30 to 39 are more likely to leave their careers permanently due to family commitments.

Additionally, a significant portion of elderly recipients of government financial aid are women lacking economic safety nets."

Highlighting a report by the World Bank, Nancy emphasised that eliminating economic barriers for women could significantly boost the country's gross domestic product (GDP). 

This year's theme for the International Women's Day Celebration, 'Uplifting Women, Exalting the Nation,' underscores the importance of fostering inclusivity and gender equality at all levels to uplift women in Malaysia. 

Present at the event were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

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