Empowering Women Through Innovation

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In the presentation of the 2018 Budget, one of the things that attracted the attention of many was the announcement of 2018 as the Year of Empowering Women. YAB Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak explained the importance of women in the development of the family and the country. This effort he clearly is to recognize this group and put them in a higher place. This announcement is of course welcomed by all, especially women.

Provisions such as longer maternity leave, shorter working hours, and tax exemption during certain periods show the government is serious in implementing it. But all these provisions are not enough to really empower women. What is more important is a fair opportunity to be involved in various sectors.

The government’s efforts to make the Year of Empowering Women a success are successful by all ministries and agencies through their respective strengths. In the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), there is a National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy that gives priority to women. To develop, nurture, and polish talent, the ministry will encourage and increase women’s participation effectively and equitably in science, technology and innovation (STI) at all levels and in all sectors.

“It is time to increase our efforts to empower women. Women need to be in line with men in the development of the nation, “explained YB Datuk Seri Commander Wilfred Madius Tangau, Minister of MOSTI. “I have started efforts to focus on innovators, technology experts, and entrepreneurs from women. MOSTI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MyIPO to identify intellectual property that has the potential to be commercialized and patented, ”he added. This step is important to prepare women with a wave of rapid progress, especially after the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Talking about innovation, MOSTI has actually been moving to raise the value of innovation through its agency, Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM). YIM was established to instill and cultivate creativity and innovation among Malaysians. In fact, one of the focus groups in this effort is women. These objectives are met through programs organized throughout the year. Among the programs that are in focus is the High Impact Program 6 (HIP 6) – Inclusive Innovation. This annual program seeks innovations that benefit the inclusive, especially the low and middle income groups (B40). In addition, there is also a program known as Mainstreaming Grassroots Innovations (MaGRIs) that seeks grassroots innovation to expand its potential.

The best innovator can be seen in a high-spirited woman, Puan Asmawati Anifiah. He was one of the winners of the 2016 MaGRIs competition. Achievements and dedication throughout working with YIM bear fruit when appointed as an Innovation Ambassador to promote the value of innovation through lively programs and activities. She, who is an innovator of banana-based paper products, has successfully proved to the rural community, especially women, that anyone can succeed with desire and determination. “What is important is that we dare to try. At the same time, knowledge needs to be enhanced so that product improvements can be produced, ”said Puan Asmawati. In addition to actively running his business, Banana D’Cratf in Sabah, he is currently involved in awareness programs to show the importance of innovation in improving the local economy.

Great achievement was also shown by Mrs. Teng Yu Mein. He is also one of YIM’s innovative innovators who produces special cover products to enable water filters to be used anywhere, even without a tap water supply. The product known as EZ Efinity Water Filter Cap has already been donated to the Aboriginal community in Sabah. In fact, this innovative product is also in demand from charitable organizations abroad for the benefit of the rural people who need clean water.

In addition, innovators from among the young women are also not left behind to showcase their abilities. While participating in the MaGRIs innovation competition, both Ms. Noor Shakinah Rudzlan Apandi and Ms. Siti Hajar Adni Mustafa are still students. But that did not stop them from daring to risk an innovation known as Nakula. Nakula is a special wheeled tool for collecting palm seeds that can increase productivity on the farm. This innovation will benefit small and medium farmers.

The greatness of women from single mothers was also highlighted by Mrs. Salena Ahmad. He is the founder of a social enterprise company named SURI. The main objective of SURI is it maximizes profits through sewing-based businesses supported by single mothers. This is in line with the desire to increase family income led by single mothers. Through the HIP 6 program, YIM helps from the financial aspect and enhances the existing facilities so that this enterprise can be expanded in several other places.

Whether old or young, living in a big city or in a rural village, women need to have the confidence and courage to keep moving forward. The stories of the above innovators should be an inspiration to women that they too can succeed and not be left behind in the current progress. From an innovation perspective, the success of innovators shows that skills and creativity need to be used to solve everyday problems. With the help of parties such as YIM, the potential for innovation can be fully developed.

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Founded since October 2008, our vision is to drive innovation and creativity amongst Malaysians, targeting children, youth, women, disabled people, rural communities and non-government organizations.


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