With the development of technology and dynamics, there needs to be more proactiveness in driving progress towards diversity and inclusiveness in the workforce, the minister said.
WEM 2023, run in conjunction with International Women's Day, will see a range of programmes taking place, tailored to meet the needs of women from diverse backgrounds, including underprivileged women, emerging talents, professionals, and aspiring leaders.
Speaking at the launch event on Sunday (12 March 2023), Minister of Human Resources V. Sivakumar said he believed the initiative can "elevate the national women's agenda towards increasing the female labour force participation rate to 59% by the year 2025."
He added: "For me, with the development of technology and dynamics, the rate of progress towards achieving diversity and inclusiveness in the workforce needs to be driven more proactively. Thus, the issue of bridging the gender gap in economic opportunities needs to be clearly identified and overcome."
The Minister then touched on the January 2023 enforcement of the Employment Act amendments – with the introduction of reduced working hours, availability of flexible work arrangements, and extended maternity and paternity leave – affirming his ministry's responsibility to focus on uplifting women from the employment aspect.
"These improvements aim to break down barriers to women's participation in economic activity and national development, as well as enable a more balanced life for all the workforce, regardless of gender."
In his own speech at the launch event, Chief Minister of Penang Chow Kon Yeow called for all stakeholders to address stereotypical views of gender-based roles and traditional responsibilities expected of women.
"In this regard, diversity, equity, and inclusion practices can increase opportunities for women to continue working while also encouraging men to equally shoulder household and family responsibilities," he said.
Commenting on the WEM, Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Aiman Athirah Binti Sabu shared: "This effort is in line with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development’s National Women's Policy and Women's Development Action Plan to support gender equality, and a balanced and sustainable national development."
The WEM 2023 launch event also saw the recognition of Malaysian employers with leading childcare centre practices, and the celebration of Malaysian talents who have made significant impact to raise women’s empowerment efforts.
Among the companies recognised, were Micron Memory in Batu Kawan, Penang; and
United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) in the Klang Valley, who have launched their childcare centres; and Asia Pacific University Of Technology & Innovation and Mahwengkwai & Associates Corporate Services, both in the Klang Valley, who will be launching their childcare centres this year.
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