Expanding women’s economic rights is good for the nation

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Women make up 50% of Malaysia’s inhabitants, but the nation has considered one of the lowest feminine labour pressure participation charges (LFPR) amongst higher center revenue nations, highlights United Nations resident coordinator for Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam & Singapore Karima El Korri.

“Malaysia’s female labour force participation rate stands at 55.6% (as at July 2022) while male labour force participation rate is 82.5%.

“The World Economic Forum World Gender Gap Index which assesses countries on how well they distribute opportunities among their male and female population has also ranked Malaysia 103rd out of 146 countries,” she says.

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam & Singapore Karima El Korri. Photo: United NationsUnited Nations Resident Coordinator for Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam & Singapore Karima El Korri. Photo: United NationsEl Korri was talking at the third Malaysia Women & Girls Forum (MWGF 2022) organised by United Nations Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam and UNFPA Malaysia.

Themed “Expanding women’s rights through economic equity”, the discussion board goals to establish obstacles, perceive causes and description options and alternatives that may speed up Malaysia’s feminine labour pressure participation price, economic fairness and enhance post-pandemic economic restoration. Doing so will propel the nation in direction of reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

El Korri says that Malaysia has the means to carry out higher by deconstructing legislative and social obstacles that girls and women face on daily basis and which suffocate their potential for economic progress.

She provides that addressing these economic inequalities goes past labour market insurance policies and promotes feminine participation.

“It starts at the structural level by addressing myriad interlocked issues ranging from legal protection, to unpaid care work, gender based discrimination, access to finance, social protection, sexual and reproductive health, and harmful practices,” she says.

Crisis inside the disaster

UNFPA Malaysia consultant Dr Asa Torkellson notes that the challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide have been extra pronounced for girls and women and have resulted in a “shadow pandemic” or “crisis within the crisis” impacting their well being and economic well-being, bringing on extra care duties and elevated gender-based violence, together with home violence and youngster marriage.

A examine by UNFPA and Unicef in Malaysia reveals that city poverty has had a extra extreme impression on girls and women following the Covid-19 pandemic. In Malaysia, there is a spot of 27% between men and women’s labour pressure participation, that of girls being considered one of the lowest in the area.

“UNFPA’s abundant research shows that investing in the health, well-being and potential of women and girls is an investment into the health, well-being and prosperity of the country, its presence and its future,” she says.

Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri admiring an illustration during MWGF 2022. Photo: UNFPADatuk Seri Nancy Shukri admiring an illustration throughout MWGF 2022. Photo: UNFPA

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri says that making certain the well-being and economic fairness of girls is important to make sure full pandemic economic restoration.

“This would be possible through a whole of society approach in encouraging women and girls’ full participation,” says Datuk Seri Nancy.

Key takeaways

The particular report on “Enhancing Human Capital Through Sexual & Reproductive Health Investments & Family Support Policies in Malaysia” was additionally launched at MWGF 2022.

Jointly carried out by UNFPA, the Prime Minister’s Department’s Economic Planning Unit and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the report research the contribution of sexual and reproductive well being interventions and household assist insurance policies to the growth of human capital for Malaysia.

Four very important sexual and reproductive well being investments and their return on funding are recognized: complete reproductive well being and social training, human papillomavirus (HPV) screening and elimination of cervical most cancers by 2070, built-in household planning and household assist insurance policies, and satisfying all unmet wants for fashionable contraception inside a 12 months

The report additionally outlines the pathway in direction of better human capital growth, gender equality, and economic properly being for Malaysia.

(left to right) Karima El Korri; Dr Asa Torkellson; and  Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri at MWGF 2022. Photo: UNFPA(left to proper) Karima El Korri; Dr Asa Torkellson; and Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri at MWGF 2022. Photo: UNFPA

One of the key facets the report focuses is how the low feminine workforce participation in Malaysia is a barrier to the nation progressing to change into a high-income nation and socio-economic growth, highlights UNFPA Asia & Pacific Regional Office Health Economist Davide De Beni.

Improving the companies will improve feminine workforce participation and spur socio economic growth, he provides.

The report additionally supplies coverage suggestions, together with growing feminine labour pressure participation, growing feminine instructional attainment, decreasing depreciation of feminine human capital by means of enhancing/growing job expertise and productiveness, enhancing the well being of girls and their kids, better accumulation of financial savings and household assist insurance policies.

“Women don’t participate in the labour force mainly because of family-related responsibilities,” says De Beni.

According to the Labour Force Survey Report 2018, 60.2% of girls aren’t in the labour pressure due to unpaid care duties, which embody childcare, eldercare, and home tasks, whereas the essential purpose why males aren’t in the labour pressure is training.

“Childcare and other family support policies such as parental leave for fathers, coupled with access to voluntary rights-based contraceptive services that improve women’s control over the time and space of births are effective ways to improve women’s work-family balance, thereby increasing female labour force participation and satisfaction of labour force preferences,” he says.

De Beni highlights that training attainment impacts girls’s participation in the labour pressure.

National Anthem being Sung by Malaysian women from all fields of the arts - musicians, artists, writers, theatre practitioners, lecturers, etc  - from Penang, Sabah, to Kuala Lumpur. Photo: UNFPANational Anthem being Sung by Malaysian girls from all fields of the arts – musicians, artists, writers, theatre practitioners, lecturers, and so forth – from Penang, Sabah, to Kuala Lumpur. Photo: UNFPA

A World Bank examine reveals that an extra 12 months of education in Malaysia will increase wages by 12% on common for girls in comparison with 9% for males.

“Returns to education are very high in Malaysia, especially for women but even though secondary school completion rates are higher for girls, over 12,000 live births are registered by adolescents aged 10-19 annually. This leads to school dropouts and lower educational attainment, especially among girls with unintended pregnancies,” he explains.

“Increasing educational attainment and expected wages, comprehensive sexuality education and family planning, can help break the cycle of poverty for adolescents and women from low income backgrounds who are at higher risk for unintended pregnancies or HIV/STIs,” he says.

De Beni says that girls’s labour productiveness and potential earnings rely upon three elements: instructional attainment, well being and on-the-job expertise.

“In Malaysia, women have higher educational attainment than men – almost 40% of employed females have tertiary education, compared to about 23% of the male workforce.

“However, the time spent out of the labour force because of childcare duties inevitably diminishes the actual experience of a female worker compared to a male one with the same level of education, health and age,” he highlights.

“Reductions in mis-timed fertility can prevent the depreciation of female human capital that results from unintended interruptions (pregnancies) in the labour market experience. If a woman can freely decide the time and space of births, she can also minimise the negative impact of fertility on her accumulation of human capital, and as a consequence, on her potential level of earnings,” he says.

“Furthermore, unintended adolescent pregnancies and short inter-pregnancy intervals have been associated with increased risks of adverse maternal, perinatal and infant outcomes,” he provides.

Since cervical most cancers is considered one of the main causes of most cancers demise amongst girls, reductions in HPV infections may also obtain appreciable well being advantages for Malaysian girls, says De Beni.

UNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office Health Economist Davide De Beni delivers an overview on the report 'Enhancing Human Capital Through Sexual & Reproductive Health Investments and Family Support Policies in Malaysia' at MWGF 2022. Photo: UNFPAUNFPA Asia and the Pacific Regional Office Health Economist Davide De Beni delivers an summary on the report ‘Enhancing Human Capital Through Sexual & Reproductive Health Investments and Family Support Policies in Malaysia’ at MWGF 2022. Photo: UNFPA

“Direct investments in maternal health, family planning, gender-based and intimate partner violence prevention and response, comprehensive sexuality education and Human papillomavirus (HPV) screening/prevention can yield sizeable health benefits for infants, mothers and women in general,” he says.

Within the subsequent decade, roughly 10% of the inhabitants is projected to be 65 years and older. Taking a life course strategy to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research (SRH) investments is notably related and well timed in the context of Malaysia’s ageing inhabitants, highlights De Beni.

“SRH investments can increase monetary savings for individuals/families via:

reduction in unintended expenditures on mistimed pregnancies; reduction in out of pocket medical costs associated with maternal/infant health conditions; HPV infections and cervical cancer; and potential increases in labour income due to increased female educational attainment, labour force participation and productivity,” he says.

“Every girl and woman should be able to complete her education, pursue her dream and make a living that protects her from poverty and vulnerability,” concludes De Beni.



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