Women, Work & the Economy
24 Feb 2020 | Gamuda Berhad

Women’s rights are always looked upon as an accidental upshot of development, especially in conversations of economic developments, a thing that should be cultivated and supported, but not required for a nation’s prosperity. Nonetheless, we feel that this way of thinking greatly underrated the ways women’s rights actually drive economic development.

If we are to increase the female employment rates in Malaysia to meet that of Sweden, there would be a significant improvement for the country’s GDP. On top of that, we have consistently maintained and exceeded the 30 percent women directors requirement as we believe that such diversity brings new perspectives, approaches and ideas for the Group. This is significant for us as it boosts productivity, introduces economic diversity and contributes to income equality, as well as other constructive development in the company.

To encourage women to stay in the workforce, the government introduced several career comebacks programmes, which we have followed suit. Moreover, the need for childcare services, support facilities, and such proves to relieve working mothers and gives them emotional support. In 2018, we introduced the Gamuda Women Empowerment Network (GWEN) which offers perks such as introduction to external leaders, leadership programmes and a support network for women career advancement. We created this initiative to assist in upskilling and reskilling women, as well as grant women’s economic empowerment and a more inclusive economic growth.

In addition to that, by achieving gender equality in our economic development, we could combat several threats we face in our time – from poverty to climate change. Women also possess ideas and the leadership to solve them, as mentioned by Jaya Menon (GWEN Advisor) who says, “I think for economies to prosper, there is greater realisation that the labour force needs both men and women to participate and I think it’s good and Malaysia is one of it and the government actually has several policies to continue to look at new policies they can put up to help women as well as men to participate more actively.”

It is apparent from the data presented, we know that women’s rights do encourage economic development. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, if every country propelled towards gender uniformity at the same rate as its tremendous-developing neighbour, the worldwide GDP would increase by $12 trillion. It’s an exceptionally determined goal for us but it may exhibit the uncharted aptitude of women in combating global poverty.