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WIM urges for more board-chair positions for women in Sri Lanka corporate sector



Says that no industry should be labeled on gender bias

by Sanath Nanayakkare

Having more women leaders in corporate management correlates with increased financial and non-financial performance, therefore, the current numbers of women leaders across the country’s corporate landscape should be increased by allowing more of their kind to hold board-chair positions, Women in Management (WIM) Founder & Chairperson Dr. Sulochana Segera told the Island Financial Review.

“It has been proved that when there are women involved in decision-making on corporate boards, those companies reflect favourable outcomes in their performance. Women leaders are able to make this difference because they are very accountable and ethical,” WIM chairperson said.

“Women account for 52.3% of Sri Lanka’s population. They have shown their ability to handle crisis situations with great resilience. So, their influence can have a positive impact at all levels of business, not just in decision-making and leadership roles. If the country doesn’t attract and utilize their talent, it would be wasting a human resource that makes up more than half of its population,” she said.

When asked if the Sri Lankan corporate sector has not yet made an environment conducive to tapping the fullest potential of women leadership and the contribution from women workers at all levels, she replied,” I think that a supporting environment is already in place. You can’t expect to create a perfect environment for absolute gender diversity and parity. It is just that the number of women employed in decision-making roles has to go up. Improving the work environment for women to thrive and deliver their best would be an ongoing process. It is also up to women to step forward and take up these opportunities.”She noted that just by adding a family member to a board may not help ensure the formation of a well-performing board.

Asked whether Sri Lankan women prefer to enter only women-friendly businesses such as apparel, FMCG, she said,” In fact, those sectors used to be our cottage industries and businesses. Now they are operating at a large scale, and we tend to call them ‘women-friendly’. No industry should be labeled on gender bias. It is the passion and the commitment that women bring to any industry that matters. Today there are women in the construction sector, road development sector which are thought to be male-dominant. Their numbers may not still be significant, but the numbers are growing and these women will be role-models for other women who share similar passion. It is not about intruding male-dominated sectors, but entering those sectors with passion and working with male counterparts in collaboration so that these women can advance their career prospects in high-growth sectors while playing a vital role in boosting the national economy.”

She also said that Sri Lanka needs mentors who can provide help in guiding women through the new and unprecedented challenges they confront.WIM Sri Lanka launched the Second Edition of the Women Top50 Calendar for the year 2023 featuring 12 women Icons on 4th January at the Galadari Hotel. Sara Twigg Programme Manager – Women in Work Sri Lanka International Finance Corporation- was the guest of honour at the event.

This year, WIM has featured women from diverse backgrounds like business, entrepreneurship, corporate boards, state sector, banking, Insurance, corporate careers, legal and etc.

January – Gillian Edwards, Independent Non-Executive Director, Commercial Credit and Finance PLC, February – DevikaEllepola, Head of Passenger Sales, Emirates Airline in Sri Lanka, March – Prof. Dr. Thushari Koralage, Principal/Managing Director, Asian Grammar School (Colombo/Matara), April – Julian Devika Anthony (LLB.), Barrister & Solicitor, President, WIM Canada Chapter, May – NilushiKumaradas, Head of Procurement, Coca Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd, June – Nirosha Jagodaarachchi, Chief Executive Officer, British Cosmetics (Pvt) Ltd, July – Dawn Austin, Managing Director, NIDRO Supply (Pvt) Ltd, August – Shehara de Silva, Non Exec Director, Keells Food Plc, September – Shashi Kandambi Jassim, Professional Banker, October– Keasila Jayawardana, Chairperson, National Savings Bank Plc, November -WIM Sri Lanka Team, Waruni Algama, Vijitha Samarakkodige, Summaiya Macan Markar, Dr. Himalee De Silva, Niroshini Rathnasinghe, Fazeela Dharmarathne & Dr. Nadini Wickarmasinghe, December- Manindri Dias Bandaranayake, Group Chief Brand Marketing Officer, Janashakthi Group.

WIM chairperson said that younger women will have the chance to be inspired by those featured in the calendar and find new ways to make history of their own.

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Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia pledges output cuts – Opec+




(picture BBC)

Oil-producing countries have agreed to continued cuts in production in a bid to shore up flagging prices.

Saudi Arabia said it would make cuts of a million barrels per day (bpd) in July and Opec+ said targets would drop by a further 1.4 million bpd from 2024.

Opec+ accounts for around 40% of the world’s crude oil and its decisions can have a major impact on oil prices.

In Asia trade on Monday, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel.

The seven hour-long meeting on Sunday of the oil-rich nations, led by Russia, came against a backdrop of falling energy prices.

Total production cuts, which Opec+ has undertaken since October 2022, reached 3.66 million bpd, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.

Opec+, a formulation which refers to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, had already agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.


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Manpower services agency wins accolades for its contribution to foreign employment sector



Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services receives the award

Its MD says. ‘go abroad only if you can work hard’

Siraj Manpower Services, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign employment agencies, was honoured with the Three-Star Award at the ‘Golden Awards’ 2023, organised by the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE). This award ceremony was organised to honour foreign employment agencies that have made a significant contribution to the development of the foreign employment sector, which is a major source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. Siraj Cafoor, Managing Director of Siraj Manpower Services, was presented with the award at the award ceremony which was held at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of Minister of Foreign Employment and Labour Manusha Nanayakkara.

Having been established in 2002, Siraj Manpower Services ( has earned a reputation in the field of foreign employment by winning the trust of customers for more than 20 years. It has been offering job opportunities in the Middle East countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, and Malaysia as housekeepers, drivers, sanitation workers, labourers and also jobs related to the apparel industry. All these workers are entitled to approved salary scales certified by the SLBFE.

“We always stand for the safety of workers who go abroad through our organisation. We work to solve the problems that arise in relation to the contracts that the workers have entered into. I must mention something special to those who go abroad for employment. That is, you should keep in mind that you go abroad only to work. Go abroad only if you can work hard. You have to remember that you are going abroad to earn some more money and achieve the advancement of your family.” said Siraj Cafoor.

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Direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake to commence from August



A special discussion between Turkish Ambassador – Demet Sekercioglu and Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation – Nimal Siripala de Silva took place last week at the ministry office. The aim of the discussion was to seek authorization to commence direct flights from the Turkish Capital Istanbul to Katunayake, Sri Lanka. The Chief of Turkish Airlines’ South Asia Office Fathi Bozkurt was also present during the discussion.

Currently, Turkish Airlines connects with Sri Lanka through a route that includes a stopover in the Maldives, resulting in an additional travel time of one and a half hours. The delay caused by this routing is not favored by travelers, as emphasized by the Ambassador.

The Chief of Turkish Airlines requested for time and space to be allocated in order to initiate direct flights between Istanbul and Katunaike, thus providing convenience for Turkish tourists and travelers who prefer visit Sri Lanka.

The Minister announced that the request would be forwarded to the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka and the Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited. The aim is to establish direct flights between Istanbul and Katunayake starting from August this year.

Turkish Airlines, a renowned airline with a fleet of over 100 aircraft, offers flights connecting Europe’s Vancouver and New York. The Chief of Turkish Airlines said that the new service would not only benefit European travelers but also encourage them to travel to Sri Lanka.

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