More female worker participation can boost Sri Lanka growth: IMF
ECONOMYNEXT – Raising Sri Lanka’s female labor force participation can boost growth in the long run, the International Monetary Fund has said.
“Sri Lanka could raise GDP by as much as 20 percent over the long-term by closing the gender gap in the workforce,” the IMF’s executive board said in the latest assessment of its program with Sri Lanka.
Key measures include labor law reforms to support flexible work arrangements such as part-time work, telework, working from home, and night work.
Effective gender budgeting to actively target gender equality, with a focus on vocational training, safe transportation, and child care support are also important.
Greater financial inclusion through access to microfinance institutions and formal financial institutions to promote entrepreneurship among women are other measures.
Enhancing female labor force participation (FLFP) is estimated to boost incomes significantly, the IMF said.
Key drivers of low FLFP in Sri Lanka include a low proportion of high skilled female workers and persistent skill mismatches; outdated labor laws that do not address flexible work arrangements; absence of child care facilities; and poor enforcement of laws for protection of females, especially in transportation.
“Closing this gap is especially important as Sri Lanka faces an aging population with a labor force that is projected to shrink as early as 2026. Model based simulations indicate that closing the gender gap in 50 years could raise incomes by about 21 percent by the year the gap is closed.”
The IMF said that given this potential, the government has identified policies to bridge the gender gap in the labor market.
The Vision 2025 has formulated a medium-term strategic plan to remove the constraints.
As part of a program to mainstream gender-budgeting in every ministry, the authorities are developing key performance indicators starting with 20 ministries.
(COLOMBO, June 21, 2018)