Women must be accepted as equal partners and drivers of nation’s growth, says Najib

06-Dec-2017 Intellasia | New Straits Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

It is vital for women to be seen and accepted as equal partners and drivers of growth for the nation, says prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said this view should be shared by all citizens as the government looks forward and initiates plans for the future with the National Transformation 2050 (TN50) initiative.

He said countries will not be able to unlock their full potential if the contribution of its women are not fully realised.

To do this, he said, society must challenge gender bias and inequality, move towards substantive equality for women, campaign against violence against women, celebrate women’s achievements and champion women’s rights for equal education.

“We have made great efforts, and Malaysia has a strong track record when it comes to women’s rights. I am delighted to state that in the public sector, women now fill 35 per cent of the top management posts.

“In fact, I am certain that if the police and military services are excluded, women officers make up the majority of the civil service at 57.5 per cent.

“We are heading into the right direction but we want to go further, especially at the higher levels,” he said in his speech at the Women in Politics Kuala Lumpur 2017 international conference today.

Najib said, as part of its strategy to increase the number of women in top management posts, the government has warned public-listed companies that they will not only be named and shamed but also not given government contracts if they do not have women as board members.

This, he said, is not a gender issue nor it is just about ensuring Malaysia’s culture and practices were non-discriminatory but ultimately, about productivity.

Najib said empirical evidence has shown that more diverse teams produce better outcomes, and that organisations with women in senior management perform stronger across a range of markers than those with less gender diversity at a high level.

He said under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), the government has set a strategy to increase women’s participation in the labour force to 59 per cent by the year 2020.

He said female labour participation has increased last year from 46 per cent to 54.3 per cent, which translates to over 700,000 more women in the workforce.

“This means we are on track to achieve our target but to keep on that path, it is vital we make the most of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) by encouraging and nurturing more women entrepreneurs.

“Technological advances today have made the playing field much more level for women. We are determined to make sure women can make the most of their potential in this ever expanding sector,” he said.

Najib cited actress and entrepreneur Neelofa, Fashion Valet’s Vivy Yusof and Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling as successful Malaysian businesswomen, and said he wants to see more women entrepreneurs of all generations follow in their footsteps.

He also encouraged them to register with the Alibaba Group through Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone to expand their reach in business.

Najib also quoted a recent report by the World Economic Forum that identified women to be more adversely affected by Industry 4.0.

“This is why we need to make more of an effort to address talent requirements and gender gaps to ensure that we make the most of our female workforce.

“Every opportunity must be there for them to be educated, recruited and promoted,” he said.

Najib today launched the WIPKL 2017 conference, organised by Wanita Umno, themed ‘Women and IR4.0: Leadership and Substantive Equality’.

He was accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Also present were Wanita Umno chief and WIPKL 2017 chief Tan Sri Shahrisat Abdul Jalil; Women, Family and Community Development minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim and her deputy Datuk Azisah Mohd Dun, as well as Federal Territories minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

The conference saw the participation of more than 1,000 delegates from 18 countries and 27 political parties.



Category: Malaysia

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