I READ with interest the finding by Khazanah Research Institute’s (KRI) research last year, which ranked Malaysia at 106th place out of 144 countries in terms of having the lowest number of women in the workforce.

The Philippines was at seventh, Singapore, 55th, Thailand, 71st, and Indonesia, 88th.

KRI’s findings stated that in 2015, the number of women in workforce was 54 per cent compared with men at 80 per cent. This indicated that almost half of the working-age women in Malaysia were not in the workforce.

The unemployment rate of men was 2.9 per cent and women at 3.4 per cent, while the chances of women of being unemployed was 18 per cent higher than men.

Given that Malaysia envisions achieving equality in the workforce, these numbers are a cause for concern.

However, it is interesting to note that the number of women in tertiary education institutions was higher than that of men.

According to Malaysia’s gender disparity index in 2013, one of the main reasons is that women are better in all subjects compared with men.

Therefore, I do not see a reason why Malaysian women are not equally or more qualified than men to be employed.

There seems to be gender stereotyping in the workforce, where employers may feel that women are not fit to be leaders and that men can do a better job.

Hence, men are given more consideration when it comes to jobs and promotions.

It is encouraging to read that the government and private sector have started to increase the number of women in the workforce. More policies should be put in place to enable women to participate in the economy.

After all, people deserve the right to work and contribute to their country.

Here’s wishing every woman, including the one I love the most, my mother, a working professional, a belated International Women’s Day.

EUSOFF, Klang, Selangor

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