Striking a better balance

Aug 08 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

To continue a theme this week, women in the workplace, let's lok at some proposals currently under discussion in Malaysia – lettin' the ladies opt out of the workforce to spend more time at home. Quite a contrast to the EU proposal for fathers, eh?

But this is more than just encouraging women to stay home. This plan wants companies to keep employees' jobs open so that a parent can return to work once their child is sufficiently independent – much along the lines of legislation across Europe.

According to the article: "The Asia-Pacific region is losing US$42 billion (RM145 billion) to US$47 billion a year because of restrictions on women's access to employment opportunities. The gender gap in education, on the other hand, is costing between US$16 billion to US$30 billion per year.

Clearly an economy needs a better balance – for both men and women – between home and office life to contribute to a healthier economy. And in Malaysia, women have made huge economic contributions to the national economy; completing shutting them out of the workforce simply makes no sense.

What would make the plan even better is to offer it to either parent. Not only does this seem like the ethically correct thing to do, it would also do wonders to increase employee loyalty and improve workplace attitudes.