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Malaysia Women And Girls Forum 2022: Expanding Women’s Rights Through Economic Equity

Local and regional experts will share their thoughts on the barriers faced by women in achieving economic independence and various ways to address them.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14  – The Malaysian Women and Girls Forum (MWGF) returns for its third edition tomorrow – this time to highlight the importance of women’s participation in the labour force. 

The forum will be launched with a keynote speech by Nancy Shukri, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development.  

MWGF is brought to you by the United Nations and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Malaysia. The forum is set to run from 10am to 4.30pm featuring speakers from the Malaysian government, academia and civil society groups. 

With the theme Expanding Women’s Rights Through Economic Equity, the forum will be streamed via UNFPA Malaysia’s Facebook LIVE page.  

Being economically empowered is a key component for every individual’s personal agency, and having access to resources – financial or otherwise – allows women, in particular, to take charge of their lives. 

Economic empowerment is interconnected with women’s independence, freedom of choice, resilience from shocks such as the Covid pandemic, and opens up doors for them to live up to their full potential.

Despite Malaysia’s women comprising 50 per cent of the population, the country still has one of the lowest female labour participation (LFPR) rates in the region. Malaysia’s female LFPR currently stands at 55.6 per cent as of July 2022. Meanwhile, male LFPR registered at a healthy 82.5 per cent.

The lack of family support policies such as paid parental leave, the scarcity of comprehensive sexuality education and lack of access to sexual and reproductive health and Services (SRHR) such as family planning services, plus low coverage for screening and treatment of female cancers, are among stacked factors which keep women otherwise willing to work confined to their homes, and out of the formal labour force, leading to the vast gap between female and male LFPR in Malaysia.

Gender norms and stereotypes, unpaid care work, the physical, emotional and psychological burdens of caregiving as well as disproportionate levels of multidimensional poverty faced by women further contribute to gender gaps in entrepreneurship, women’s participation in the informal labour force and overall low female LFPR.

Over the course of MWGF 2022, local and regional experts will share their thoughts on the barriers faced by women in achieving economic independence and various ways to address them, including through investing in women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

As Malaysia charts its recovery from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, Malaysian women’s untapped talent and economic potential is key to national recovery and propelling the country towards achieving the 2030 SDGs.

The speakers and panellists at MWGF 2022 include: Karima El Korri, United Nations resident coordinator for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam; Rodziah Ismail, member of parliament, Ampang; Asa Torkelsson, UNFPA Malaysia representative; Hartini Zainudin, co-founder Yayasan Chow Kit and child rights activist; Ushar Daniele, independent broadcast journalist; and Lim Yi Wei, Kampung Tunku assemblywoman.

Learn more about the MWGF here.

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