NEW YORK: Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor today outlined at a U.N. meeting five policies and strategies that have helped Malaysian women, particularly in the rural areas, improve their economic well-beings.
Speaking at the First Ladies Global Call to Action Conference on women and girlâ€™s financial health, the wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysian women have greatly benefited from the countryâ€™s economic programmes to alleviate poverty although some challenges remained.
The five strategies are:
1. – Empower rural women by bringing jobs and industries to them.
2. – Encourage men and women in the rural areas to own land through Felda and other schemes.
3. – Provide education and training for women to secure higher paying jobs and to embark on entrepreneurship.
4. – Provide access to capital, particularly micro credit facilities. Among the significant ones are Fund for Small Entrepreneurs (TEKUN), Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM), Rural Economy Financing Scheme, I AZAM Small Business as well as Women Entrepreneurs Programme for single mothers and women from low income households.
5. – Provide facilities that would link rural development to urban growth. Rural Transformation Centres (RTCs) have been set up to provide market access to rural businesses. Those in the agricultural industry will then be able to improve their business opportunities and subsequently their income through the RTCs by cutting through the age-old problem of middle persons.
Rosmah said in order to ensure financial health, economic empowerment must be accompanied by access to quality education and health services throughout a womanâ€™s life cycle.
â€œThis is the approach used by Malaysia since the time of Independence in 1957. The government, under successive leaderships has always acknowledged the significant role of women in the socio-economic development of the country,â€ she said.
She said a strong emphasis had been given to womenâ€™s development through access to quality education, better health care services, in particular reproductive health services, and greater opportunities for economic participation and advancement.
In some local universities, women accounted for up to 75 percent of admissions, she said.-NST