PUTRAJAYA – The 2015-2020 Action Plan to Empower Single Mothers was launched today to help alleviate problems faced by single mothers in the country.
The plan consists 18 strategic measures based on three main pillars – economic empowerment, improve social welfare and enhance research and coordination – for the development of single mothers in Malaysia.
When launching the action plan, Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said it will be a guide to all agencies drafting programmes to benefit single mothers.
She added that the action plan was the result of a review of the National Action Plan to Empower Single Mothers conducted by the ministry through the Department of Women Development and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“The study identified the trend and the causes leading to women ending up as single mothers,” she said.
To further strengthen the implementation of the action plan to empower single mothers, she said a ‘task force’ comprising 27 government agencies, higher learning institutions, non-governmental organisations and private sector was established.
The task force chaired by Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun, will serve to monitor and advise issues related to single mothers while ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to meet the target of the action plan.
The task force’s first meeting will be held on Nov 5.
According to Rohani, the definition for single mother refers to married women who become heads of households when widowed or divorced and have unmarried children.
Single mothers also include women who become heads of household and have husbands who are sick or unable to work and have unmarried children.
Women who become heads of household but never been married but have adopted or have an illegitimate child are also defined as single mothers, she explained.
Rohani told reporters after the launch that among the biggest challenges faced by single mothers today is the social stigma, negative outlook and economic challenges.
She said based on the 2010 Census the number of single mothers in the country was 235,240 from the 13.9 million total female population in Malaysia.
The task force set up today is expected to identify the current number of single mothers in the country, she said. – BERNAMA