World Bank: M'sian women under-represented in certain fields

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of working age women who are employed or looking for employment is lower in Malaysia compared with other countries with similar income levels, according to a new World Bank report.

The report titled "The Malaysia Economic Monitor" noted that Malaysian women are under-represented in certain fields of study such as engineering.

"Malaysia has the opportunity to accelerate its transformation into a high-income economy if more women were in the labour force," World Bank Country Director for Malaysia, Annette Dixon said.

"Closing gender gaps and encouraging women to bring their skills to the labour market could leapfrog Malaysia to high-income status," she said.

The study showed that Malaysia could experience a 23 per cent increase in output per capita as a result of eliminating gender bias in the labour markets.

The increase could be realised if more women joined the labour market or became entrepreneurs, which would increase the pool of managerial talent in the economy.

Meanwhile, World Bank Senior Economist for Malaysia, Frederico Gil Sander said: "Malaysia has already narrowed or eliminated most gender gaps in education more women than men are enrolled in secondary and tertiary education.

"Malaysia's major challenge now is to increase the opportunities for women to bring their talents to labour markets."

The Malaysia Economic Monitor series provides an analytical perspective on the policy challenges facing Malaysia as it grows into a high-income economy.

The series also represents an effort to reach out to a broad audience, including policymakers, private sector leaders, market participants, civil society and academia. - BERNAMA