NEW YORK â€“ A national action plan to empower single mothers in Malaysia will be launched next month, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Sunday (Monday in Malaysia).
Speaking at a global leaders meeting on gender equality and womenâ€™s empowerment at the UN headquarters here, the prime minister said the government was aware that single mothers and female-headed households were often socially and economically disadvantaged, particularly in rural areas.
Najib said a Womenâ€™s Advisory and Consultative Council had also been established recently to help formulate policies and legislation specific for the advancement of women.
A survey conducted in 2009 by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) showed that most single mothers, particularly in rural areas, have virtually no savings and found it challenging to get into the workforce as most of them lacked necessary education, skills and training.
The survey also showed that some single mothers undertake multiple jobs in order to make ends meet for the family.
Saying that women were key to the future of Malaysia, Najib said the government would ensure that women would be able to play their part in every aspect of the countryâ€™s life.
â€œBecause we know that when women succeed, we all succeed,â€ he added.
He said as Malaysia aimed to become a high-income nation by 2020, it would not be able to achieve the status without women being equal partners and drivers of the growth needed to bring prosperity to all citizens.
Najib said Malaysia had set a target of increasing the female labour participation rate from 54 per cent last year to 59 per cent by 2020.
The government had also launched a Career Comeback Programme to provide opportunities for women to return to work after having children, an initiative to increase the number of talented women returning to the workforce.
â€œWe have also set up a Women Directors Programme â€“ and 900 have already graduated and are officially ‘board ready’,â€ he said. – BERNAMA