Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 4, 2019—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, brought together CEOs of leading companies
to mark the anniversary of SheWorks partnership in Sri Lanka.
The partnership, supported by the Australian government, works with 18
leading employers that have pledged to implement measures proven to enhance
employment opportunities for women.
This dynamic collaboration has led to the
companies making 99 gender-smart commitments focused on increasing women’s
business leadership, ensuring recruitment and retention of female talent,
exploring employer-supported childcare, promoting anti-sexual harassment
mechanisms, and supporting women in the value chain. Out of the commitments
made, 72 percent have been realized or are ongoing with expected completion
“The achievement of the SheWorks Sri Lanka
partnership is a clear indication of the business case for gender-smart
solutions and the vital role employers can play in improving the role and
participation of women in the workplace,” said Amena Arif, IFC Country
Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “For sustainable growth we must harness
the power of diversity, in particular of our talented women.”
IFC also released a publication, “Making
Progress: Sri Lankan Businesses Advance Gender Equality at the Workplacev.”
The report highlights that 13 companies have registered an increase
in women’s employment from
28 to 30 percent. In addition, the presence of women in senior leadership
has increased from 19 to 23 percent, in middle management from 20 to 21
percent, in the executive cadre from 30 to 32 percent, and in the non-executive
cadre from 28 to 30 percent.
Sri Lanka achieved the Millennium
Development Goal of universal primary education, as well as gender parity
in secondary education. In contrast, women’s participation in the economy
remains stubbornly low, at only 36 percent. IMF’s calculations show that
Sri Lanka’s GDP could be 20 percent higher if female workers had the opportunity
to participate and contribute to the country’s productivity.
The SheWorks partnership aims to bridge this critical gap.
“The Women in Work is a flagship program
and partnership for the IFC and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs
and Trade to galvanize conversations and actions on gender-smart policies
in the country. This is key to the Australian government’s overarching
efforts to advance economic opportunities for women in Sri Lanka,” said
Australian Deputy High Commissioner.
“The SheWorks Sri Lanka partnership goes beyond the 18 participating
companies and acts as an exemplar for companies across the island looking
to improve their businesses via the introduction of fair and inclusive
The private sector, which accounts for 9
out of 10 jobs in developing countries, plays a critical role in creating
better employment opportunities for women. SheWorks is part of IFC’s
broader effort to help companies address gender gaps in employment, and
thereby drive gains in productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.
SheWorks Sri Lanka partners
SheWorks members are spread across
Sri Lanka’s different priority sectors, and include 18 companies; AIA
Insurance Lanka PLC, Brandix Lanka, CBL Group, Diesel & Motor Engineering
PLC, Fairway Holdings (Pvt) Limited, Hela Clothing (Pvt) Ltd, Hemas Holdings
PLC, Jetwing, John Keells Holdings PLC, London Stock Exchange Group, MAS
Holdings, Melwire Group, National Development Bank, Richard Pieris and
Company, SANASA Development Bank, South Asia Gateway Terminals, Standard
Chartered Bank, and Virtusa Pvt Ltd.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank
Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private
sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide,
using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities
in the toughest areas of the world. In the fiscal year 2018, we delivered
more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries,
leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost
shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org