World Bank urges Sri Lanka to get more women into the workforce

18 Feb 19

Sri Lanka’s economy could grow by 20% “in the long-run” by getting more women into work, the World Bank has highlighted.

Women are excelling in higher education and living longer than men in Sri Lanka but not many enter the workforce, which is causing “great cost” to economic growth, the World Bank said. 

The bank said it was committed to working with both the public and private sector in Sri Lanka to “press for progress to create the space for women to get into work and remain at work”.

Hartwig Schafer, World Bank vice president for South Asia region, said: “Getting women into jobs is not only a development imperative, but there’s also a strong business case.

“Sri Lanka specifically could grow its economy by as much as 20% in the long-run by closing the gender gap in the workforce,” he said, citing IMF figures.

Sri Lanka’s state minister of finance Eran Wickremaratne and the mayor of Colombo Rosy Senanayake spoke to Schafer about how to increase women’s participation in work. The bank did not specify how it will “create the space” for women to access work.


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