Most Influential Women - Women Top50 Forum 2018 - Organized by Women in Management
A cross section of 'Top 50 Women' that have been recognized over the last eight years by Women in Management (WIM) were featured recently to discuss the key social issues that "Career Women" face today in Sri Lanka. The event was a sell-out given that it was considered one of the most notable events that the country had seen that feature the discussion of topics like Having a successful career & being single, Is there an impact, What if there is an App for parenting, The Man who is not right, Are women harassed at office without knowing, How do men in suits see 'Her', just to name a few... The event was a 'No Media' event given the sensitivity of the discussion points but it became one the most discussed topics on digital media during the last two weeks.
The share of voice garnered by some of the most influential business personalities led to the McKinsey & Company launching their "Power of Parity - Advancing Women's Equality in Asia Pacific" report that was prepared by the McKinsey Global Institute and presented by Ganaka Herath Managing Partner Sri Lanka - McKinsey. An interesting insight on Sri Lanka was shared with powerful personalities like the Managing Director of Munchee Ms. Shea Wickramasinghe and Dr. Pavithra Kailasapathy from the University of Colombo moderated by Corporate personality Dr. Rohantha Athukorala who Heads Turner Investments Inc. for South Asia. Apparently 29% of the GDP of Sri Lanka is contributed directly by Women as against 11% in Pakistan, 18% in India and 9% in Bangladesh which means that Sri Lanka is ahead of the game in the South Asian region. The Founder/Chairman of Women in Management Dr. Sulochana Segera was in the view that McKinsey must do a study to understand the contribution that women will make to Sri Lanka by 2025 given that as at now there is a 14% growth year on year to the national figure given that the Woman of today is getting strongly linked to the Sri Lankan economy especially in the service sector that contributes 70% to the countries 90 billion dollar economy.
The 2018 event saw almost 225 powerful women from Institutions, business and political backgrounds coming under one roof to discuss topics that have not been discussed so openly but issues in society of urban Sri Lanka. The Moderators created an Oxford type debate on the explosive topics and was carefully selected such as CEO/ Editor of Daily FT Nisthar Cassim, CEO Infotechs Ms. Ramya Weerakoon, Group Director MSL Group Ms. Caryll VanDort, WIM EXCO President Ms. Nilani Seneviratne & Deputy Chairman Commercial Bank Mr. Preethi Jayawardena. It was clear from the discussion panelists Ms. Sandra De Silva, Ms. Rajitha Jayasuriya, Ms. Chiranthi Cooray, Ms. Catriona Jayasundara, Deshamanya Indrani Fernando, Ms. Shiranaaz Kaney, Ms. Saroja Sirisena, Ms. Roshanie Jayasundara, Ms. Carmen Niethammer, Ms. Dinusha Jayamaha, Ms. Achala Soysa, Mr. Dinesh Weerakkody, DIG Ajith Rohana, Mr. Chevaan Devavarathan Daniel, Dr. Kavinda Jayawardena, Mr. Shyam Bohra, Ms. Anoja De Silva, Ms. Anusha David, Ms. Jayanthi Dharmasena, Ms. Shyamalee Tudawe & Dr. Sepalika Sudasinghe. The Keynote speeches were delivered by Ms. Shiromal Cooray from Sri Lanka and Dr. Mariyam Shakeela from Maldives. The Trail Blazer speech on "Finding your way and your voice" was delivered by Dr. Asha De Vos.
Women are separated from their homes, livelihoods, families, values and self-belief's and there has to be an integration of each of them even more women are to move from middle management to Senior management and then grow into being Board room members. In other words inclusive thinking must come into Corporate Sri Lanka and the public sector leadership so that Sri Lanka can become a strong nation by 2020 with a hundred billion dollar economy.