Malaysian women continue to abandon their careers to look after their families, frustrating the Women, Family and Community Ministry’s efforts to retain mothers in the workforce.
Minister Rohani Karim said to overcome this problem, the ministry had been working closely with Talent Corp since last year to bring back married women into the labour force.
She said 63% of working women, aged between 23 and 39, in Malaysia quit their jobs after having children.
“They are in their prime. Most resign to comply with their husband’s wishes to stay at home and look after their children.
“This has derailed the government’s efforts to have 59% of women in the labour force by 2020,” she said, adding that at present the female workforce was at 55%.
Rohani said this in her speech at the Women in Leadership Summit and Exhibition at the Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa in Bandar Sunway near here.
She said there was a mismatch in the number of women finishing their tertiary studies and those at work.
She said local universities registered 68% female students, but only 55% are in the workforce.
“There is a mismatch in the number of female graduates and the number who work after having children.”
She pointed out there was also a gender gap in the type of courses enrolled by male and females.
During tertiary studies, females were mostly registered in arts and social science courses, causing them to earn lower than their male counterparts who do courses that lead them to jobs in the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors, she said
During a press conference later, the minister said to encourage married women to rejoin the workforce, the government kick-started the “Career Comeback” programme last year.
About 190 married women have rejoined the workforce since last year.
Rohani encouraged women who chose to stay at home to get home-based jobs, such as doing translation work or online businesses.
She said married women in Japan and Korea continued to work part-time and found it easier to go back into the workforce after raising their children.