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Gayani de Alwis |Lasantha Wickremasinghe

President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) Lasantha Wickremasinghe emphasized upon the importance for greater female representation across the country’s public and private sectors.

Delivering a speech to mark the International Women’s Day at the institute which was held under the theme ‘pledge for parity – challenging conscious and unconsciousbias,’
Wickremasinghe said that there was no doubt that women are under-represented at senior management level, and to ensure that this does not continue, companies need to re-evaluate their strategies and give prominence to those who matter, by absorbing them into more important positions.

“Women in Sri Lanka form over 52 percent of the total population of nearly 21 million. However, out of the total economically active population of 8.5 million persons, only 33 percent are women. There is no doubt that women are under-represented across most sectors, and our Parliament is a very good example of this fact,” he said.

Wickremasinghe emphasized upon the importance for the accounting fraternity to also encourage more women into this profession. “We already have some high profile female CA Sri Lanka members who give leadership to leading corporates in the country, but we have just over 30 percent female representation in our membership, and this is not sufficient, and we need to improve this number,” he said.

However, on a more positive note, Wickremasinghe was hopeful of a larger female percentage of accountants’ in the future on grounds that the current 44,000 student population accounted for 60 percent of female students at the institute. “This is very encouraging,” he said.

Meanwhile, Women in Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka (WiLAT) held its third anniversary forum on 8th of March at the Kingsbury Hotel. The theme of this year’s event was ‘pledge for parity” which is in line with the UN’s mission to achieve gender parity by 2030.

“Almost 70% of the labour force constitutes economically inactive women. As per the labour force survey of 2013, the highest percentage of women is in the service sector accounting for 39.5% of the labour force, while women in agriculture and industry account for 35.3% and 25.1%, respectively. Though statistics of women in management in Sri Lanka are not available, broad estimates would place the figure below 10% of the total cadre. In logistics sector too it’s the same story. This is the disparity we need to address,” Chairperson of WiLAT Ms Gayani de Alwis said.

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