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Government knows women have the potential to ignite the economy

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If a poll were to be conducted today asking the average Malaysian to name the nation’s most valuable resource they probably wouldn’t chose women. But, it is.

As the country grows and prospers ahead of Vision 2020 and fully developed nation status, more highly skilled jobs will be created that require educated workers.

Right now, 60 per cent of tertiary students in the country are women, yet these numbers are not reflected in the job market. The government knows that women have the potential to ignite the economy if more can be convinced to stay in the workforce after marriage and children.

The government has introduced dozens of new initiatives to encourage women to stay in the workforce ranging from offering incentives and tax breaks to businesses that build nurseries to encouraging companies to allow more flexible hours.

This past week, the nation was recognized globally for achieving record levels of growth in online retail shopping. Women created many of those retail websites –helped by the preponderance of broadband in the nation.

Getting well educated women to stay in the workforce and become role models for other women is one of the government’s priorities.

Budget 2013 includes more than RM50 million devoted to women’s initiatives and programmes such as those that train women to fill spots at the highest level of business such as directorships. Already 200 women have been trained to take their place in the boardroom and other 200 will be trained this year.

The government is looking to women as its strategic partner in the country’s development as they represent 49.1 per cent of the population in Malaysia said Sabah Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun.

She said Malaysian women should feel proud with the transformation policies introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and especially noted the amendment to Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution to ensure no gender discrimination.

Malaysia is not alone in recognising the important role women play in helping the economy prosper.

This week American billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, known as the predicted while being interviewed on a BBC Radio 4 programme that women will save the American economy.

Buffett was being interviewed along with, Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

As fears grow that the United States is preparing to tumble over “the fiscal cliff” and fall head first into a double dip recession, Buffett said that affording women the same opportunities and prospects as men was key to a bright economic future for the United States.

Then, he said that the fact that the U.S. is finally starting to harness the full potential of women is “one of the things that makes him so optimistic about the nation’s future.”

Buffett, aged 82, is the world’s third richest man behind Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecoms tycoon, and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, according to Forbes magazine. He made his fortune estimated to be around RM136 billion by making shrewd investment decisions.  – Thechoice