Women Thinking Big

Half of the Malaysian population consists of women. That means they have great potential to be a strong and vibrant economic powerhouse, generating income to boost the well-being of the country.

Take Your Power Back

“There are 32 million Malaysians now, and 49.5% are women. Investing in women is good economics. Making them independent and confident pays,” said Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur, Chairman of the Board of Directors, University College of Yayasan Pahang.

“Many mothers-in-laws look at their daughter-in-law as someone who takes money from their sons. But if the daughter-in-law earns her own income, she will have her own wallet and money. That means she has power in the household. It feels good to be able to take your power back,” explained Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur to the attentive participants of the Women Entrepreneurs Convention, which was held on 29 and 30 August 2019, during the National Entrepreneurship Week 2019.

Let’s Collaborate

She further explained that the government, academia, industry (private sector) and citizens should collaborate to drive positive change together, as they will complement each other with their unique strengths. The sum of the total parts will be greater than what the individual party can achieve alone.

“Look at China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. It turned hundreds of poor villages into ‘Taobao Villages’. The company is giving training to women in villages to carry out online businesses to generate income,” said Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur.

Supported by Alibaba’s logistics, service and training, the ‘Taobao Villages’ are rural e-commerce hubs that encourage farmers to sell their farm produce and local specialties online. This is part of the company’s efforts to support the country’s ongoing poverty relief efforts.

Alibaba set up the Poverty Relief Fund in December 2017. Over the following five years, it is committed to invest 10 billion yuan in poverty alleviation programmes. These programmes encompass the fields of education, health, e-commerce, empowering women and environmental protection. Alibaba is a great example of the positive impact a large company can make for the betterment of society.

A Conducive Environment

“A good example of successful women in Malaysia is Peniagawati. Ten years ago, the members were 100% local and on the ground only. Now, they have gone all the way to New York,” said Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur. Representatives from Peniagawati joined the Malaysia Fashion and Business Mission to New York in 2018. In Malaysia, Peniagawati is the Association of Bumiputra Women in Business which empowers Bumiputra women to venture into entrepreneurship by upskilling them.

Categories of Entrepreneurs

“The women at the grassroots are usually not considered to be entrepreneurs. In the PPR (Program Perumahan Rakyat) housing areas, there should be a corner for women to be involved in business. This is because we not only have rural poor, but we also have urban poor as well,” she added.

According to Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur, a conducive ecosystem is essential for the success of Malaysia’s women. It includes:

  • Conducive culture
  • Financing
  • Enabling policies and leadership
  • Quality human capital
  • Venture friendly market for products
  • Institutional and infrastructural support

Much Needed Support

“Most importantly, women must want to upgrade themselves to a different level to achieve success. And they need support from their family and friends to do that,” she added. “Your spouse will have to be supportive of you, because you also need to take care of your home.”

“Be positive about life and enjoy your life. Make a conscious effort to keep negative energy out,” advised Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur.

Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur’s talk was thought-provoking and inspiring, benefitting all the participants present.

About Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur

Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur has many feathers in her cap. Currently, she is the Chairman of the Board of Directors, University College of Yayasan Pahang. She was the former president of the Science Commission, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO Paris) (2015-2017), and former Senior Advisor in the Southeast Asia Group for the World Bank (2006-2008). She was Malaysia’s representative to the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) (2010-2014).

She has been the Ministry Of Higher Education’s Secretary-General. She was also the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (2014–2016) and Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development Malaysia (2010-2014), to name just a few of her illustrious positions in the government.

Half of the Malaysian population consists of women. That means they have great potential to be a strong and vibrant economic powerhouse, generating income to boost the well-being of the country.

The panel session Women Thinking Big by Tan Sri Dr. Noorul Ainur was one of the session in Konvensyen Usahawan Wanita 2019 organized by SMECorp Malaysia that took place in conjunction with Minggu Usahawan Nasional 2019 on 29th August 2019 at MAEPS.

 

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