Author Topic: Book on gender equality and equality barriers at workplace for women  (Read 1784 times)

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Book on gender equality and equality barriers at workplace for women
Chaminda PERERA

COLOMBO: The International Labour Organisation (ILO) jointly with the Employers' Federation of Ceylon (EFC) last Tuesday launched a book titled 'Beyond Glass Ceilings and Brick Walls' co-authored by Maithree Wickremesinghe and Dr. Wijaya Jayatilaka.

The book is based on research study commissioned by ILO and EFC in 2003 to appraise the gender equality and equality barriers that prevail at workplaces for women at various levels in the Sri Lankan private sector.

This book stresses the need to promote gender fair work culture and management through recommendations under nine headings with emphasis of special areas of intervention.

This would help organisations transform towards more gender responsive. Brick walls is a metaphor to symbolise ideological and structural barriers and impediments that avert horizontal and divisional mobility of women in the workplace while Glass Ceiling signifies the barriers that prevent women's upward mobility particularly in the management level.

Women are largely confined to low skilled, low paid, atypical jobs with inadequate social and legal protection which lead to the occupational segregation by sex.

ILO Country Director Tine Staermose delivering the welcome address at the launch at the Hotel Intercontinental said of the 70 percent of women in the developed countries and 60 percent in the developing countries are engaged in paid employment.

"The ILO recognises gender equality as fundamental to the decent work environment which would lead to the increase of productivity in conditions of freedom, security and human dignity", she said.

Gender becomes a crucial factor at the workplace due to the work pattern and form of duties assigned to men and women. The women's contribution to the national economy and development is very significant. They deserve equality of opportunity and treatment in employment.

"We are committed to promote womens' rights and eliminate all forms of gender based discrimination at work. This book aims at elevating awareness on the challenges faced by women employees and provides guidelines on how to make work organisation more gender responsive," she said.

EFC Director General Gotabaya Dasanayaka said the book helps employers formulate guidelines on gender equality. "The gender justice facilitates moral and productive development of a organisation", he said.

Maithree Wickremesinghe is a senior lecturer at the Department of English, University of Kelaniya and a visiting lecturer of gender and women's studies at other educational institutions.

Dr. Wijaya Jayatilaka is a senior lecturer attached to the Agriculture Extension Department of the Peradeniya University.

Prof. Swarna Jayaweera reviewed the book. The Labour Relations and Foreign Employment Ministry Senior Assistant Secretary and co-authors also spoke.

Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe also participated at the launch.

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