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Government to empower women to drive economy

29 February 2024 05:09 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • President Wickremesinghe pledges more will be done to help segment improve contribution to national economy
  • Says careful development of country’s economy can be achieved through women’s empowerment
  • Highlights tourism and modernised agriculture as potential sectors to increase female participation

Sri Lanka’s women entrepreneurs, who have for long been held back, will soon be able to take the front seat as President Ranil Wickremesinghe this week pledged more would be done to allow this segment to increase their contribution to the national economy.

As Sri Lanka aims to recover faster and achieve higher growth trajectory, Wickremesinghe affirmed that the government would improve its focus on women entrepreneurs, so that they can overcome the challenges and hurdles faced in achieving higher aspirations.

“We firmly believe that careful development of the country’s economy can be achieved through women’s empowerment. Women can play a pivotal role in the nation’s economic growth, making their contribution indispensable for its transformation,” Wickremesinghe said addressing Prathibhabhisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards 2023, held in Colombo, this week. 

The government has launched a comprehensive programme aimed at nurturing women entrepreneurs. Further, as there is increased focus on digital and green economy, the government has devised strategies to nurture women entrepreneurs capable of adapting to these changes.

According to Wickremesinghe, while women are engaged in business in varying scales and across diverse sectors, the tourism industry presents a plethora of opportunities for the female 
workforce to contribute to.

“By fostering more opportunities within this sector, we can nurture robust entrepreneurs. It is imperative to systematically develop tourism and the government stands ready to support entrepreneurs in this endeavour,” asserted Wickremesinghe.

With tourism rapidly picking up, efforts are underway to ensure that the individuals in the tourism industry earn a minimum of US $ 500 per day. The responsibility of turning this aspiration into a reality lies with women-centric chambers such as the Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce, he said.

Another area where female participation can be improved is the agricultural sector, which the government is actively modernising, with plans also underway to leverage artificial intelligence in the future. 
“The demand for entrepreneurs in these fields is expected to rise. As technology continues to advance globally, Sri Lanka must keep pace remaining competitive,” he said.

It is important to note that while efforts have been made to increase female participation in the economy in the past, little progress has been achieved in this regard.

Due to the heavier household and caregiving responsibilities falling on women, they face challenges when participating in the labour force and securing decent work.

According to the Census and Statistics Department, female participation in the labour force is around 34.1 percent, which is significantly lower than that of men, which is approximately 75.7 percent. 

Women’s ownership of formal small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is low in Sri Lanka and most women struggle to transition away from informal micro-scale businesses. The SMEs contribute about 52 percent of Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product; only 25 percent of entrepreneurs are women in the SME sector.


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  Comments - 1

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  • Jeanne Thursday, 29 February 2024 10:44 AM

    Ah! What a wonderful dream! Never going to happen here - we must be utter morons to even remotely believe this bs!


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