Enhancing Human Capital Through Sexual & Reproductive Health Investments and Family Support Policies in Malaysia
This report, a joint collaboration between UNFPA Malaysia, The Ministry of Economy (previously Economic Planning Unit) of Malaysia & The Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health focuses and evidences how Malaysia can enhance her human capital, via strategic investments in Sexual & Reprodutive Health as well as vital family support services in order to increase the county's female labour participation rate and in tandem achieve essential milestones, such as the 2030 SDGs and the realisation of the 12th Malaysia plan.
Every person has a dream. Every girl and woman should be able to complete her education, pursue her ambitions, and make a living that protects her from poverty and vulnerability. She also has the right to live a life free of violence.
Globally, women and girls face various risks, crises and vulnerabilities. Almost half of all pregnancies in the world are unintended, and the risk of death during and after pregnancy is high for them. Furthermore, they are often less educated and earn less than their male counterparts. Meanwhile, the pandemic has increased the number of unpaid female workers, leaving them vulnerable to income instability and lack of health and social benefits.
Malaysian women are not exempt. They still face issues such as maternal morbidity, poor-quality maternal care and high rates of cervical cancer. Furthermore, Malaysian families face huge economic burdens in bearing and rearing children and are not provided with adequate high-quality childcare, forcing women to stay at home to take care of their children and miss out on their career goals.
All of the examples outlined above pose significant drawbacks not only to girls, women and families alike, but to the national economy as well: in order for girls and women to contribute to the economy, as well as national development they must have optimal reproductive health to enable them to be productive.
Women’s greater economic productivity and increased labour participation as a whole will accelerate Malaysia’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of 17 global goals that are essential to towards achieving peace and prosperity for everyone on the planet – and the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) which is designed to propel Malaysia into high-income status by year 2025 (as described in Section 1 of the report).
Therefore, in order to achieve these essential milestones, especially in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia needs to invest in her women and girls now.