I urge all women to not allow anyone else to judge you because your success is personal to you and your personality. Do not let people compare you with anyone
While we women seek for empowerment, nature has demonstrated that women are the most resilient and courageous gender during the COVID -19 pandemic
The day we begin to love our country we will elect men and women for our motherland and not a representative who will help us replace our roof or to get our business licence
Though COVID -19 did not kill many Sri Lankans physically, it has killed the privacy and dignity of the countrymen
There have been so many women recognized by WIM during the past nine years; 436 Sri Lankan women to be exact
“Sometimes it is enough to just take a woman by the hand and help her begin her journey”
- Erena Crasmari
This year’s Women in Management Award Ceremony have been one of the most challenging events for me and for WIM. This year we marked 10 years of recognizing and celebrating women under the umbrella of Top 50 Professional and Career Women Awards.
There have been so many women recognized by WIM during the past nine years; 436 Sri Lankan women to be exact. I still wonder how we did it and we continue to be amazed at where they were when they won the award and how they have soared in their careers today. I think success is not just about reaching the top, but also, remaining and continuing to be an inspirational woman for yourself and for others.
2020 was an impressionable year; a year of reckoning and of many lessons, which we continued to learn as we live through 2021. While we women seek for empowerment, nature has demonstrated that women are the most resilient and courageous gender during the COVID -19 pandemic. Global and national statistics show that women are able to survive under any circumstances, while at the same time taking care of and protecting her loved ones.
When we look at Sri Lanka, even though we have controlled the spread of COVID -19 to a great extent, an achievement that I truly admire, with due respect for all those who have been working hard and continue to do so in the frontlines and at policy and implementation level, I do not hesitate to say that although COVID -19 did not kill many Sri Lankans physically, it has killed the privacy and dignity of the countrymen. This is not the fault of politicians or the government; it is how we have been nurtured or brought up. Our culture has changed and therefore, our values have been forgotten. The message that we Sri Lankans can learn from the pandemic is to rethink and revisit the way we were raised and the values with which we were raised and in turn how we should raise our children. The responsibility lies with parents, teachers and religious leaders; definitely not with politicians.
If we have value-driven voters we can change politicians. So, as Sri Lankans we cannot blame politicians because they are elected by us, not for the country, but to suit our personal agendas. The day we begin to love our country we will elect men and women for our motherland and not a representative who will help us replace our roof or to get our business licence.
As for our religious leaders, they need to change their values before they preach on women and politicians. I still wonder why religious leaders preach about women when they should be preaching the universal message of love and peace; the common thread in all religions.
Sri Lankan teachers are busy with the so called ‘bright’ and smart students, making their schools prominent and renowned, but give less importance to guiding children with values and life skills. The Education Ministry should change the way they evaluate teachers on syllabi knowledge and ensure they are evaluated on how they guide a child to be a respectable citizen.
We parents are busy transforming our children into professionally qualified adults with good grades than bringing up a happy child. When I conducted a brief research on corporate success stories, I realized individuals who had had a happy childhood had become team leaders who were able to guide teams with respect, whereas those who had good grades, but were not happy growing up as a child had become leaders who focused more on personal leadership and success, than team leadership; these individuals had less self-satisfaction and friends.
As a woman, I am often asked what the role of the Top 50 award winners is. To me, this award is an icon to remind a person how amazing they are and how much we as a society appreciate and respect their achievement as a woman. I urge all women to not allow anyone else to judge you because your success is personal to you and your personality. Do not let people compare you with someone else. Importantly, at the same time, you have a responsibility towards other women and our country, that is, to be a woman who gives a helping hand to another woman. Be a woman who speaks for the country and against the injustice faced by women who have no voice and cannot stand for themselves. I have observed many women who believe their brand may be ruined if they raise their voice or stand up for a cause, hence, they choose to be silent when they see and hear of injustice. While respecting their personal choice, I earnestly ask them to listen to their own conscience and see whether your personal brand will remain intact when you become blind to others’ needs.
Beyond our borders, women of Sri Lankan origin are achieving tremendous success in careers and in politics in other countries. As Sri Lankans, we have and are celebrating their achievements. But I deliberate on the question - would they have achieved the same success had they been in Sri Lanka? Their achievements clearly demonstrate that a woman does not lack skills or competencies; rather it is our culture that is not yet ready to accept the fact that a woman can run a business and a country as well as she can run a family and a home.
Let me wrap up this article, with a few words to our dear men reading this today; W stands for Warrior and O stands for Optimist. These are two words that are not there in the word MAN, but included in WOMAN. Therefore, remember, there is no future without a warrior and an optimist. You need us always.