Monday, March 10, 2008

Womenomics: The Hidden Asset

Conventional wisdom suggests that a shrinking or small population is unambiguously unfavourable for economic growth. Yet, in my opinion, not all is necessarily gloom if we can make better use of our most under-utilised resource: women labour force.

Public sector fairer to women than private
Reported by: Sobrina Rosli
Monday, March 10, 2008

BRUNEIAN women have fair access to jobs across the sultanate, but in the private sector, men generally get better pay, a university lecturer yesterday said.Brunei yesterday joined worldwide celebrations marking the International Women's Day. According to the Department of Economic Planning and Development, the percentage of women in the Bruneian workforce has grown substantially to 59 per cent in 2006 from just 20 per cent in 1971.

In an interview with The Brunei Times Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, Deputy Dean, Postgraduate Studies, Research and Development at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam, said that generally, Brunei does not have gender wage bias issues."Gender wage gap hardly exists in the public sector due to the uniformed pay scale," she said.Not so in the private sector, she said, men on average earn 28 per cent morein all occupations. "The gender earnings gap in the private sector could be a result of over-representation in some occupational groupings such as clerical and retail workers," she said. But Dr Joyce said research shows there is no rigid occupational segregation in the Bruneian labour market. "Yet, concern exists within the country that the local workforce needs to play a greater role in National Development Plans, through reversing the trend of using expatriate labour ... This necessarily means an extended role for women given their importance in the workforce."In Brunei, women would benefit more from a more equitable jobs distribution, suggesting that the government needs to address issues like giving women better access to non-traditional occupations.

"Women constitute a strong labour force, which need to be mobilised and encouraged to make an effective contribution to the development of the county," the UBD lecturer said.It is vital that females are encouraged to progress up the hierarchy of occupations as their male counterparts, "otherwise they might not invest in education and training sufficiently," she added.

No comments: