Female labour force participation is important for an economy as it indicates the utilization of labour in an economy, which in turn influences the growth potential. It also relates to income/poverty status and acts as a signal of the economic empowerment of women.
However, latest available data for Sri Lanka indicates that out of the total ‘economically inactive population’ of the country, 69% are females, and out of the total ‘economically active population’ (i.e., labour force) females account for only 34%. This implies that there is a large untapped reservoir of manpower that could be utilized for the development of the country, while empowering the individuals (i.e., females) and benefitting society as a whole.
Having identified the importance of women and the contribution made by them to our society, NDB, together with Sirasa News 1st introduced Sri Lanka Vanithaabhimana, in order to recognise and facilitate the female achievers and entrepreneurs.
One main objective of this program is to get women to participate in the modern marketplace and to encourage and facilitate their entry to it. It will also take a step towards appreciating and feting those women who at present actively contribute to the economy and society.
The call for applications to enter the “Sri Lanka Vanithabhimana” Provincial competitions, commenced in July 2020 at the Central, Southern and North Central regions with the participation of over 6000 women. The overall assessment process was a massive undertaking that started at the nine Provinces and reached the national level.
When assessing the applications, NDB and Sirasa News 1st paid attention to all aspects including women’s specialized vision, entrepreneurial capability, and capacity for innovation, leadership quality and skills. In parallel measures were taken to conduct field awareness programs and workshops.
Accordingly, areas of focus such as Cookery, Beautician, Yoga training, Health clinics, Mobile banking and financial/monetary services, Legal aid services, Advice for self-employment, Training for youth leadership and Entrepreneurial training were also conducted in the first stage, and all applicants who participated were awarded a certificate of participation. Based on the eight specially chosen categories such as Micro-entrepreneur, Small entrepreneur, Up and coming entrepreneur, Young female leader, Environmental management, Social service, Sports, and Education from every Province, eight winners each will be given awards at the final awards ceremony which will be held at Nelum Pokuna.
However, due to the current pandemic situation, NDB together with News 1st conducted the remaining judging process via digital platforms to recognise the finalists of the competition. The competitions for the Western, Uva, Sabaragamuwa, North, East and North Western provinces were thus conducted via Zoom meetings held at the respective NDB Bank branches.
NDB Bank, named the “Bank of the Year Sri Lanka 2020” by the Banker Magazine UK, is the 4th largest listed bank in Sri Lanka and the parent company of the NDB Group. The only financial services conglomerate in Sri Lanka, NDB Group is uniquely positioned towards assisting the growth and development of the Sri Lankan capital market to provide its customers seamless access to the product and service offerings of all its group companies.