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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

More girls in STEM-classes could bridge Sri Lanka gender digital divide

Sri Lanka’s apparel sector showed growth

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should make extra efforts to get more girls educated in STEM or science-based subjects to eliminate gender discrimination in the emerging fourth industrial revolution that’s changing employment prospects, a new report said.

“The impact of structural change in the labour market on women due to the 4IR will be particularly appalling,” the State of the Economy report by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a semi-government think-tank said.

“Given that women are already underrepresented in tech jobs, they are more vulnerable to job losses due to the 4IR.”

According to predictions and estimations, some existing sectors as well as job categories will become obsolete due to automation.

“Job losses for women are predicted to be more than for men,” IPS said, noting the need for more girls to study STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects on which 4IR is based.

The report said there were both opportunities and threats to women’s employment in the technological changes under way.

“Entrenched inequalities and discriminatory social norms that keep women restricted to low-paid, poor-quality jobs are likely to further deepen by the 4IR,” the report said.

Studies on transformation of occupational structures due to the 4IR have seen job losses in both male-dominated occupations such as construction, and female-dominated occupations such as clerical work.

Evidence indicates major gains in some male-dominated occupations like information technology (IT) professionals, and some female-dominated occupations such as cleaners and helpers.

IPS said that given that women are more likely to be involved in repetitive work throughout the labour market, an average improvement of the content of women’s job might be expected if automation occurs mainly in relation to repetitive or routine tasks.

“It is predicted that this could thus raise the quality of women’s jobs, while reducing their number.”

The fourth industrial revolution is also expected to bring in some critical changes to existing gendered norms and roles in the labour market.

“It will reverse the gender stereotypes created by the first, by placing an emphasis back on human talent such as ingenuity and creativity, and not on traditional masculine skillsets,” the IPS report said.

“On-demand production of customised products and talent will be the most valuable asset in the 4IR. In an economy which is based more on talent and less on capital, there is a higher prospect of women being treated more equally. Further, there will be fewer obstacles for women to talent acquisition and retention.”

The IPS study noted that the platform economy will allow women to work remotely, where flexibility allows them to access the labour market and remain in it.

“A comprehensive restructuring of the education system will be needed to fulfill the requirements of the 4IR.

“STEM-based education can play an important role as a stepping stone to the era of the 4IR. New STEM-based subjects such as genomics, data science, AI, and robotics will be in demand that need to be taught.

“Existing gender imbalances in STEM education, where girls are at a more disadvantaged position, suggest that extra efforts are needed to enhance girls’ participation in STEM education.

IPS suggests increasing the number of subject qualified teachers and schools offering such classes are key steps which should be taken in order to enhance STEM education in Sri Lanka.
(COLOMBO, 26 November 2019)


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Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s SEC makes four new appointments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) made four new additions from diverse backgrounds to its leadership.

These appointments are expected to increase the effectiveness of the SEC secretariat in the respective operating areas, the SEC said.

Manuri Weerasinghe, with over 20 years of experience in accounting, financial management, financial reporting and auditing, was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs.

She is a Fellow Member of CA Sri Lanka, member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia.

Her academic credentials include a Master of Business Administration and a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy and Financial Management (Special).

Prior to joining the SEC, she served in several financial management positions in Bermuda and Sweden.

Madura P R Wanigasekara was appointed Chief Digital Officer. He has over 20 years delivering and managing IT solutions, and has held several senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

His academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the Curtin University of Technology.

He is also a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Sharmila Panditaratne was appointed Assistant Director, Legal and Enforcement.

She is an Attorney-at-Law with over 21 years of experience as a securities market regulator.

She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Houston, Texas and has worked at two law firms in the USA prior to joining the SEC.

Riyaz Bary, Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department was appointed a Director on secondment basis. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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