Past Events

22 May’15 – Retaining Women in the Workforce: Closing Gaps & Breaking Barriers

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22 May 2015 (Friday), 8.00 pm- 10.00 pm, Boustead Hall, The Royale Bintang Hotel, Penang

In conjunction with Labour Day, the Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC) and Penang Institute are proud to co-host a panel discussion titled “Retaining Women in the Workforce: Closing Gaps and Breaking Barriers”, to be held as follows:

Date: 22 May 2015 – Friday
Time: 8.00pm to 10.00pm (Registration starts at 7.00pm)
Venue: Boustead Hall, Royale Bintang Hotel, George Town
Dress Code: Business Casual

A key challenge for economies today is to attract and retain qualified women in the workforce. However, in 2012, Malaysia’s women’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) was a lowly 46% compared to Indonesia (52%), Singapore (60%), Thailand (70%), United Kingdom (70%) and Sweden (77%). This is despite the fact that 68.9% of Malaysian women have tertiary qualifications. As for Penang, its 2010 women’s LFPR was highest in Malaysia (56.5%), but still far lower than its male LFPR (80.5%).

Why do women drop out of the workforce? In reality, women’s LFPR for Penang and Malaysia peaks when women are 25- 29 years old but declines dramatically afterwards. A major reason is child-raising: the majority of women indeed work after graduation, but leave as they start families and rarely return to the workforce. This differs from many countries with a ‘double-peak’ pattern, where women return to work after several years of child-raising. In addition, lack of advancement opportunities and gender discrimination may cause women to leave the labour force.

How can Penang and Malaysia address this form of ‘brain drain’? What policies and programmes can be used to close gender gaps and break barriers for women at work?

– Prof. Dato’ Dr. Rashidah Shuib, Universiti Sains Malaysia-KANITA (moderator);
– Dr. Wong Chin-Huat, Penang Institute Fellow and Lead Researcher of the 2014 study ‘Explaining Women’s Labour Force Participation: A Case Study of Penang’, assisted by Yeong Pey Jung, Penang Institute Researcher;
– Datin Rohana Weiler, former VP, HR for Asia-Pacific Agilent Technologies;
– Krista Goon, co-founder of Redbox Studio and co-founder of WomenBizSense;
– Janarthani Arumugam, community activist and President of NGO EMPOWER; and
– YB Steven Sim Chee Keong, Member of Parliament for Bukit Mertajam.

7.00pm-8.00pm – Registration
8.00pm-8.05pm – Welcome & introduction by emcee
8.05pm-8.10pm – Welcome by YB Chong Eng
8.10pm-8.30pm – Presentation of PI Study findings by Dr. Wong Chin-Huat / Yeong Pey Jung
8.30pm-8.40pm – Panelist – Rohana Weiler
8.40pm-8.50pm – Panelist – Krista Goon
8.50pm-9.00pm – Panelist – Janarthani Arumugam
9.00pm-9.10pm – Panelist – YB Steven Sim
9.10pm-9.50pm – Moderated discussion & public Q&A
9.50pm-9.55pm – Moderator summary
9.55pm-10.00pm – Closing & presentation of tokens of appreciation to presenters

Admission is FREE for ALL.
Due to limited seating for the forum we require your kind assistance to reserve your participation as soon as possible.

Online Registration