‘Women labour force participation low in Lanka’
Dr Sher Verick and Prof Savithri Goonasekera.
Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
The labour force participation rate of women in Sri Lanka, has not
only been low, but had fallen from 35.7 per cent in 2006 to 32.1 percent
in 2010. This was revealed at a workshop organized by the ILO on
Participation of women in the Sri Lankan labour force, which was held at
the Galadari Hotel yesterday. Addressing the gathering, Director
General, Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) Ravi Peiris, said there
was plenty of potential in the BPO sector of the country, but the
restrictions on night work in respect of women, had to be relaxed in
order to open more opportunities for investors.
He further said that working arrangements in Sri Lanka, should be
made more flexible so that it would enable women to enter employment not
forgetting their family obligations.
Senior Employment Specialist ILO, Dr Sher Verick said that gender
equality in the labour market was important for improving economic and
social development and empowerment of women, but it was crucial to
understand the trends and drives of outcomes for women in labour markets
and it was very important to identify areas for policy action.
He said the female labour force participation indicates about
utilization of labour and growth potential.
However, the rate of female participation in South Asia as a whole,
was just 31.7 percent in 2010, compared to 66.9 percent in East Asia.
Further more, women have a very low rate of labour force participation,
compared to rates witnessed in other regions, which was driven by not
only economic factors, but also cultural norms and structural barriers
The objective of the workshop was to review the study on female
labour force participation in Sri Lanka and provide feed backs on the
findings of the analysis and recommendations for the revision of the
study and highlight key issues and policy responses to be taken forward
by the ILO, government, trade unions and employer organizations., Prof
Savithri Goonasekara, Emeritus Professor of Law chaired the morning
ILO Country Director for Sri Lanka, Donglin Li, Secretary, Ministry
of Labour and Labour Relations, U Wijeweera also spoke.