Senela Jayasuriya


A conversation on disrupting the status quo of traditional gender roles

Gender equality as a human right
A society can’t thrive if half its population has been marginalised. This includes vital conversations such as reducing the gender gap.

Anything else that’s crucial
Educational reforms and inclusive workplace policies.

Your definition of women’s empowerment
Recognising the power of women while embracing and valuing the autonomy that comes with it.

Empowering women and achieving gender parity

Creating environments where women are entitled to equal opportunities, safety, dignity and choices that aren’t governed or constricted by social norms and conditioning.

Ensuring sustainable development through gender equality
The active participation of women in decision-making roles in economic, social, political, environmental and industrial settings is critical.

Means to achieving gender parity
Corporations must identify, invest in, implement and monitor conducive workplace policies – and implement inclusive cultures that address biases about working women.

Impact of the glass ceiling on women
The barriers that women face limit their accession to high-ranking positions in the realms of corporate leadership and management.

To date, there’s a disproportionately low number of women on boards or holding chair positions in Sri Lanka as well as globally.

Importance of establishing high-level corporate leadership to ensure gender equality
It’s paramount to ensure that existing policies are gender sensitive. and identify factors that impact women and men differently.

What more needs to be done
There needs to be a corporate culture that sincerely promotes equality and inclusion across the board.

Women in nontraditional careers
There is a misconception that women aren’t effective in certain nontraditional careers.

Such as…
The automobile, mechanical, construction, creative and tech-AI streams. This poses a threat to their professional development.

This can be overcome through
Education, training and professional development for women as part of the ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ (DEI) agenda.

In addition there must be…
Organisations that offer mentoring programmes, leadership grooming and succession planning for women staff who would benefit greatly from it.

Importance of mentorship
It’s a good tool to nurture the next generation of women leaders and give them an opportunity to develop their leadership skills.

And what more…
Build confidence and grow their networks.

Initiatives that you would recommend to empower women
Address systemic discrimination against women in the workplace by reducing the gender pay gap and ensure bias free recruitment practices when hiring.

And also
Diversify management cadre to reflect better female representation, and support and invest in women’s professional development to enhance career growth.

Disparities between the wages of men and women hinder economic growth
In low and lower middle income countries, women account for a third or less of human capital wealth.

The cost of the above
This disparity poses a threat to the cumulative earning potential of households.

Women were disproportionately affected by the impact of the pandemic
The pressure on working women increased – especially since they had to manage office duties from home

This was while…
They were also attending to household chores and childcare needs without a proper support system.

Tips for a better work-life balance
Prioritise; have a simple yet effective routine; set goals and learn to say ‘no’ to the thieves of time…

Such as…
Activities that won’t add value to your life, relationships, family and/or business.

The future you envision for Sri Lanka
It’s a paradise island with great potential – however, we need to develop solutions to revive the economy and put it on a more positive trajectory.

This means…
Businesses and industries would then be able to thrive.

The role of women in such an economy
We need to keep challenging the status quo. In today’s context, more women are playing a significant role in achieving food and nutrition security.

And what more…
They’re generating income while improving the overall wellbeing of their families.

Your mantra for success
If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

– Compiled by Isanka Perera
Senela Jayasuriya is the Founder and CEO of Women Empowered Global, Founder of 1 Million Women in Power and Managing Director of Diverse Consultants Transformational Services