Following the launch of a government grant to recruit more women, Malaysia is nearing its target of raising the number of women in decision-making roles to 30% by the end of 2016.

In a blog post published yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the local female labour participation rate is currently at 54.1%, which translates to about 700,000 women in the labour force.

He added that women in the country now hold 26.3% of top management positions.

“I have long been an advocate of gender diversity and family friendly policies, and with the advancement of technology, it is now easier than ever to make this a norm in our workforce, giving employees the flexibility not just to attend to their personal needs, but also to rejuvenate their minds,” he commented.

Najib commended certain companies who are answering to the government’s call to increase women’s participation in the workforce.

Specifically, he lauded PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for being the first of the Big Four to announce 90 days of maternity leave for its female employers.

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Other mentions included Sunway Group, with 26% of women in senior management levels, and CIMB Group who has been making strides with their Staff Rejuvenation Programme.

"Initiatives like these have allowed talented career women to successfully return to the workforce without compromising their commitment to family and work," said Najib.

He recently met with top women executives in the workforce at a dialogue session organised by Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp).

This was a part of their Career Comeback Programme, an initiative designed to encourage and facilitate women to return to the workforce after a career break for various reasons which includes maternity and family.

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