Standard Chartered was proud to launch its first women’s empowerment network ‘W3’– Women Win at Work – at a gala gathering graced by not only leading women from various spheres of enterprise but also by State Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Minister Eran Wickramaratne.
Justice Shiranee Tillekewardene was the chief guest at the launch. W3 aims to support the advancement of women at Standard Chartered by providing professional and personal support, guidance and opportunities.
Standard Chartered Head of Human Resource Deshika Rodrigo speaking at the event reiterated the need for a continued call to action, stating, “Whilst women represent half the world’s population they represent less than half of reported economic activity. There are about 865 million women around the world today who have the potential to contribute so much more. Moreover, when women do participate, often they tend to be in low-paying jobs. Therefore, we see that women are the main victims of extreme poverty in the world today making up 70 percent of the billion people existing on less than US $ 1 a day.”
In Sri Lanka although women comprise approximately 57 percent of the population, only 33 percent are economically active; the majority consisting of garment workers, tea pluckers and domestic workers in the Middle East. Of women in the workforce, less than 10 percent are estimated to be in management. Global trends are increasingly acknowledging that greater female participation in the working population has a positive impact on economic growth. The elimination of gender gaps in economic participation can lead to big jumps in income per capita; the crucial measure of economic wellbeing.
Standard Chartered firmly believes that change begins at home – the bank’s gender balance is almost 50:50. The bank also has many significant initiatives that address possibly the greatest challenge faced by working women: motherhood. To enable women to continue working after becoming mothers the bank provides a crèche, 100-days of maternity leave and paternity leave, as a result of which, the number of female employees who resign for this reason is zero.
W3 will contribute additionally to support the retention and advancement of women at Standard Chartered by providing a source of social support and contacts across the bank, professional development opportunities and the network will organise events and activities to contribute towards this mission both within the bank as well as by reaching out to external stakeholders and partners.