Malaysia Aims to Boost Female Labor Participation

Malaysia Aims to Boost Female Labor Participation
Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri delivers a speech during the Unity Government National Convention at World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur May 14, 2023.


Lone de Chene


Global Human Rights Defence.

Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Nancy Shukri of Malaysia announced that the country is seeking to increase its female labor participation. As of 2021, only 55.5% of women in Malaysia participate in the labor force. Shukri hopes this number has increased to 59% by 2025.

Nancy Shukri was appointed as the Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development of Malaysia in December 2022. She advocates for a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to the daily challenges faced by women, family institutions, and society. Nancy Shukri is passionate about ensuring quality care, from cradle to grave, and intends to do so through a community-empowered, family-oriented, and gender-responsive Malaysia.

To achieve these goals, Malaysia has implemented the Employment Act. This act, amended in 2022, introduces several changes, such as an increased length of paid maternity leave and the prohibition of employers from terminating employees who are pregnant.

The initiative to increase female labor participation does not come as a surprise since Malaysia has been focusing heavily on gender equality. For example, the government has a policy to have 30% of women in decision-making positions.

It is clear that Malaysia is taking steps to increase gender equality and create a better work environment for women. However, according to Shukri, the country has not yet reached its goal. "Fighting for gender parity is a consistent cause that requires tireless efforts from everyone," she said. 

Sources and further readings:

KSI Institute for Asia Pacific. (2023, April 13). The Hon. Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri – KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific. KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific.

Free Malaysia Today. (2023, May 15). Govt seeks to increase female labour participation to 59% by 2025.