by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
Malaysia’s per capita income could rise by 26.2 per cent implying an average annual income gain of US$2,250 (RM9,400) if all economic barriers are removed for women in the country, according to World Bank report titled ‘Breaking Barriers: Toward Better Economic Opportunities for Women in Malaysia’.
World Bank country director for Malaysia, Mara Warwick (picture) said the report analyses women’s economic opportunities in Malaysia by first taking stock of how far Malaysia has come and importantly by looking forward to what the country can do to fully maximise the economic potential of women.
“Economic opportunities for women is one of the most promising avenues for Malaysia as it strives to become a high-income and inclusive nation,” she said at the launch of the event here today.
Warwick said increasing the number of women participating in the labour market and able to access productive jobs was not only a core development objective but also promised to help Malaysia continue its development and growth path.
Women comprised 39 per cent of the total Malaysian labour force with men representing the other 61 per cent.
The report, launched by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah, identifies a lack of accessible and affordable child and elderly care services as one of the main constraints that prevent women from accessing productive jobs.
The report recommends expanding the availability, quality and affordability of child and elderly care services by increasing childcare coverage from 0-6 years to 0-17 years and prioritising resources on child and elderly care for the bottom 40 per cent especially the urban poor.
The report also suggests broadening support for parents in line with the international legal norms by reforming the Employment Act and other laws and regulations, including prohibiting the dismissal of pregnant women, requiring 14 weeks of paid maternity leave and introducing paid paternity or parental leave.