Industry newsnewsletter

It’s time to talk transparently about women’s economic equity barriers, access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) across the life cycle, gendered stereotypes surrounding unpaid care work and its influence on women’s Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), including youth and social perspectives in transforming harmful practices for the better.

These topics were unpacked during the 2022 Malaysia Women and Girls Forum (MWGF) funded and supported by the United Nations in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The forum was joined by mouthpieces from the Malaysian government, academia and civil society groups and initiated by Nancy Shukri, Minister of Women, Family and Community Development. Six resolutions in expanding women’s rights through economic equity were announced by its Head of Secretariat Tehmina Kaoosji, a Malaysian Indian journalist, producer, activist and actress.

Get to know the six resolutions:

  1. Enhance women’s economic equity and economic independence to improve Malaysia’s female labour force participation rate and subsequently its GDP growth and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  2. Invest in Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to reduce unplanned pregnancies which will allow girls to continue their right to education and economic opportunities.
  3. Invest in the care industry to address unpaid care work that often disproportionately burdens women.
  4. Reform laws to mandate equal parental leave, which will shape how the next generation approaches gender roles in parenting.
  5. Address gender-stereotyping attitudes at home, work and within politics that impede women’s participation in the labour force.
  6. Gender-responsive budgeting and economic decisions must include the lived realities of marginalised communities and the disabled.

Malaysia LFPR Women make up 47.7% of Malaysia’s population, but alas we have one of the lowest female LFPR among upper middle income nations. Presently, Malaysia’s female LFPR stands at 55.6% as of July 2022 while our male counterparts registered at 82.5%. The long-term effects of the pandemic regressed women’s economic opportunities owing to a host of socio-economic, cultural and accessibility concerns. With less economic representation, it implies the waning of women’s rights; our choices and legal, political, and social equity.

Prof. Dr. Shanti Thambiah, Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Universiti Malaya, urged the government to invest in care infrastructure to strengthen women’s employability. Care infrastructure speaks about the resources and services necessary to help families fulfil their caregiving needs, including childcare and elderly care spaces.

“If the government gave equal importance to care infrastructure, it would improve employability and lower unemployment rates,” – Prof. Dr. Shanti Thambiah, Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Universiti Malaya 

Likewise, she emphasised on the role and recognition of policymakers on the significance of gender equality as a precursor to the commitment in building care infrastructure.

Malaysia’s Untapped Potential

Malaysia is seen as a sleeping giant, possessing an economic power that when unchained, will thrust the nation towards fulfilling the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Global Goal 5: Gender Equality works to grant women and girls equal rights, opportunities to exercise liberty without discrimination as well as workplace discrimination or any violence.

Hoping is not enough to spur on the crucial changes in custom and practice, norms and provisions to #EmbraceEquity. We need to take action – nationwide social protection for all women and girls hangs in the balance.


  1. United Nations Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). (2022). Home: Malaysia women & girls forum. Malaysia Women & Girls Forum. Retrieved from
  2. Malaysia Women and Girls Forum 2022: Expanding women’s rights through economic equity. UNFPA Malaysia. (2022, December 18). Retrieved from
  3. Tee, K. (2022, December 19). Third Malaysia women and Girls Forum sees six resolutions to expand women’s rights through economic equity. Retrieved from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment