World Bank calls Sri Lankan government to get more women to work force
The World Bank has called on Sri Lanka to implement gender equal labor laws and non-discriminatory policies, provide childcare and better prepare girls for employment to encourage more women to join the workforce.
The World Bank has reportedly stated that getting more Sri Lankan women to work is crucial to achieving the country’s growth and equity goals.
The World Bank’s ‘Getting to Work: Unlocking Women’s Potential in Sri Lanka’s Labor Force’ has reported these facts.
The report has stated that despite steady economic growth, the number of women participating in Sri Lanka’s workforce has declined to 36 percent in 2016 from 41 percent in 2010.
“Sri Lankan women, especially younger ones, do not sufficiently acquire marketable skills, face higher unemployment rates, and can expect to receive lower wages than men,” the World Bank said.
“Getting women to work is not just about supporting human rights; it’s about smart economics”, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, the World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives has said.
“Lifting the barriers to women’s participation in the workforce will not only help Sri Lanka realize its economic potential and build on its several achievements, it will also increase the equitable sharing of the development benefits”.
The report recommends multi-pronged strategies to help women gain employment and then continue to thrive in the workplace.
Starting young, career development initiatives can help girls acquire the education, skills and confidence to pursue courses, particularly in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields of general education.
Or it can be in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs that teach non-traditional skills, which are in demand from prospective employers, the report said.
“Once women are at work, increasing the availability of high-quality child care services, improving access to part-time work and maternity leave, and addressing socio-physical constraints on women’s mobility through safe transportation and telecommuting are essential to helping them remain in the workforce,” the report states.
“Workplaces must embrace gender equity in labor legislation and non-discriminatory policies, including zero tolerance for sexual harassment.”
According to the report, undertaking ethical branding initiatives and women-centered training programmes, the private sector could help expand women’s share of employment and firm ownership in emerging industries.
“Addressing the many issues that keep women from joining and succeeding in Sri Lanka’s workforce will require concerted efforts,” Jennifer Solotaroff, Senior Social Development Specialist at the World Bank and author of the report has said.
Meanwhile, the government in its 2018 Budget has proposed many programmes to encourage women to get involved in the country’s economic process.
The World Bank’s call and the Sri Lankan government’s initiatives to encourage women to enter the country’s work force has opened up opportunities to the private sector to introduce programmes to get women involved in businesses and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
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