ECONOMYNEXT – The Netherlands will help Sri Lanka unlock the full potential of the country’s female workforce with feminist foreign policy, Deputy Dutch Ambassador Iwan Rutjens said.
“Sri Lanka is sitting on a huge economic female potential,” Rutjens told a forum hosted by the Women’s Policy Action Network (a policy action group supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Advocata Institute, a Colombo-based think tank on August 30.
“This is awaiting to be unlocked. We, the Netherlands, our experts, our companies, stand ready to assist you.”
The Embassy of the Netherlands is committed to support gender equality in Sri Lanka with feminist foreign policy.
“What exactly does a feminist foreign policy entail? It encompasses the protection of human rights and the promotion of meaningful participation and decision making of women and LGBTQ plus individuals,” Rutjens said.
“Our feminist foreign policy is guided by four R’s. Rights, representation, resources and reality check.
“This approach aims to ensure universal rights for women worldwide, eradicate violence, amplify their representation in political spheres, and allocate necessary resources and adapt policy goals to local contexts, such as here in Sri Lanka.”
A report published by the World Bank ranks Sri Lanka as having the twentieth largest gender gap in workforce participation out of 149 countries.
“Sri Lanka currently has a female labour force participation that has been stagnating at around 30 percent for the last couple of years,” Research Analyst at Advocata, Akhila Randeniya said.
Female participation is low because of unequal distribution of domestic responsibilities, a mismatch of skills and requirements for jobs, discriminatory labour laws and discrimination in the workplace.