IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY (IWD) 2023
8 MARCH 2023
Happy International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 to all Malaysians.
The theme for this year’s international celebration “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality” was declared by the United Nations while at the national level, the theme “KASIH Wanita” was chosen by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry (KPWKM) as a sign of appreciation and recognition for significant contributions and achievements by women in the development of families, communities and the country.
This era of digitalisation opens up a vast space of unprecedented opportunities to empower both women and girls. In 2022, KPWKM initiated a programme “Keusahawanan Wanita Bangkit” to help women who lost their source of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure that that no one is marginalised from the development of digital economy and modernisation.
However, in order to realize Malaysia’s aspirations as a leader in digital economy in the Southeast Asia region, the Government needs to take more proactive measures to enhance the involvement of women in digital economy and modern technology. This is in line with the Guiding Principle 5 of the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (WKB2030) which goal is to elevate women so that they do not fall out of the flow of national development.
According to the Women’s Empowerment Statistics in Selected Domains 2021 released by the Department of Statistics (DOSM), the Women’s Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is still low at 55.5 per cent compared to men at 80.9 per cent. Of that number, only 40.6 per cent lead the professional and technical fields while 24 per cent hold high positions such as legislators, senior officers and managers.
Apart from the challenges faced by women such as discrimination and violence, the rapid development of digital technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and automation also brings new challenges to women in supporting digital agenda. This is driven by several factors such as low internet access in urban and rural areas, lack of exposure to digital literacy, online gender-based violence (OGBV) as well as gender discrimination in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Thus, in order to achieve the goals of this year’s theme, MASA urges the Government to adopt a more comprehensive and serious approach in providing infrastructure and reskilling and upskilling courses and trainings to improve their skills in digital economy. The Government also needs to enhance community awareness about women’s rights and protections to strengthen their emotional and spiritual wellbeing in facing current and future challenges.
“Happy International Women’s Day 2023”
AZRIL MOHD. AMIN
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
INSTITUT MASA DEPAN MALAYSIA