“There is power in not being alone,”
Demetrios Papathanasiou - Practice Manager, South Asia Energy Unit at The World Bank
The number of women working in the energy and power sector in South Asia is dismally low.
As for women engineers and technicians, the proportion is even lower: less than 1 to 6 percent.
To promote opportunities for women in the power and energy sectors, especially in technical roles, the World Bank and its partners recently organized the first regional conference for Women in Power Sector Network in South Asia (WePOWER).
and provided networking and learning opportunities to women and girls.
A recent study found that investing in peer networks and building up proteges as two of the six things successful women in STEM have in common.
From a personal point of view, I have learned something powerful during the event: When strong and smart women work together and are supported by men who value women’s engagement as equals, let alone in the engineering or energy sectors, something magical happens.
“There is power in not being alone,”
As millions of refugees from the Syrian and other crises try to build new lives in countries that will accept them, the host governments still grapple to find an evidence-based response to the question: what foreseeable impact will the refugees have on our citizens’ lives?
This blog is part of a series examining women’s economic empowerment in South Asia. Starting today on International Women's Day and over the next few weeks, we will be exploring successful interventions, research, and experience to improve gender equality across the region.
Meet Fazeela Dharmaratne from Sri Lanka.
Her story, like that of millions of other women in South Asia, is one of struggle between family and work and a story worth telling as we mark International Women’s Day.
Unlike too many of her female peers, Fazeela was able to reinvent herself professionally.
As a young woman, straight out of school, she joined a bank in Colombo as a banking assistant. In 17 years, she climbed up the corporate ladder to become regional manager—a position she later quit to care for her children.
Unfazed, Fazeela started her own small home-based daycare business in 2012, initially serving only 4-5 children. Today, Fazeela is the director of the CeeBees pre-school and childcare centers serving several corporate clients in Colombo.
Fazeela’s success belies the fact that
And while employment rates have gone down across the region, women account for most of this decline.
These numbers are worrying because a drop in female employment has important social costs.
First, when women control a greater share of household incomes, children are healthier and do better in school.
Second, when women work for pay, they have a greater voice in their households, in their communities, and society.
A recent study by the International Monetary Fund estimated that
The good news is that
Being a woman, mother, sister, aunt – name it, it’s something women wake up to daily and they love it. None of them question about being enumerated for these roles. We marvel and revel in the roles.
But make no mistake.
Women want to work, and they want to stay in the workplace.
What they seek is balance: a gender-balanced workplace, a gender-balanced management, and more gender-balance in sharing wealth and prosperity.
In that sense, it’s heartening to see some of the proposals put forth in the government of Sri Lanka’s budget: more daycare centers, flexible work hours, and incentives to promote maternity leave.
These are very welcome changes to think equal, build smart, innovate for change—the 2019 International Women's Day campaign theme—and we encourage those with jobs to implement these policy changes.
This year, let me share with you
Non-garment industries such as leather, furniture, hospitality and Information & Technology (IT) are also poised to grow.
But how can we think equal, build smart, innovate for change, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day?
Female participation in the workforce has been increasing but remains less than half of male participation rates across primary working ages.
Of those females joining work, over 80 percent are engaged in low-skilled, low-productivity jobs in the informal sector with little opportunity for career progression.
Yet, Bangladesh still has a long way to go with female share in enrollments around 25 percent in TVET programs.
In fact, a World Bank study identifies some keys areas of intervention for improving female participation in technical diploma programs:
- creating a gender-friendly environment in polytechnics and workplaces;
- developing more service-orientated diploma programs;
- developing a TVET awareness campaign for females;
- (supporting a career counseling and guidance system for females;
- improving access to higher education;
- providing demand-stimulating incentives; (vii) generating research and knowledge;
- leveraging partnerships to promote opportunities for females and
- generating more and better data to track progress and inform policy and operations for female-friendly TVET.
- Technical and Vocational Education
- South Asia Workforce
- Jobs and Development; Skills; Human Capital
- South Asia
- Social Development
- Private Sector Development
- Law and Regulation
- Labor and Social Protection
- Global Economy
- South Asia
Her story is an inspiration to youth (male and female) and women who are afraid of failure and taking risks.
Starting from a modest home-based business, 50 years ago, today Aban is a household brand name that is island wide in Sri Lanka.
I just ended my first round of country visits as the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region. Over and above all,
These women are succeeding in a region where it is hard for women to realize their career dreams. .
What better opportunity than International Women’s Day to give a huge shout-out and applaud those women who are role models, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the eight countries of South Asia.
A common theme of our work on conservation projects has been the lack of networks for women to share their ideas and learn from others doing the same work.
Which is why we created an all-women’s network to support and empower women in nature conservation. It is called WiNN: the Women in Nature Network, and was founded in 2013 by the two of us and 12 other women.
It serves as a platform for women to interact and learn by sharing experiences and stories relevant to other women in order to enhance conservation impacts and also inspire the next generation of conservation leaders.
Natural disasters push the near poor to below the poverty line & contribute to more persistent and severe poverty, creating poverty traps. Impacts on their livelihood pushes them further down the poverty line and as they own few assets it is very difficult for them to break this cycle.
Poor are caught up in and disaster-poverty vicious circle- are more likely to reside in hazardous locations and in substandard housing exposing them more to disasters. Poor households in disasters use harmful coping strategies, such as reducing expenditures on food, health, & education or increasing incomes by sending children to work.