Sri Lankaâ€™s current extensive port development programs will create more employment opportunities for women in the future, a port industry expert said.â€œWith automation, the opportunities for women to work in the port field will grow, as some of the jobs will change and offer a better working environment where the employees can operate from modern offices rather than being in the field.
For instance, a crane operator no longer needs to do that job by sitting on a crane. Instead the operators can work from an office,â€ Ananda S. Premachandra, a port industry expert said at a meeting held yesterday at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to discuss port development projects. At present SLPA employs nine women crane operators.
Ports are busy places and hundreds of people are needed to work in many different areas and manage efficiency levels of a port. However, in Sri Lanka, as in ports elsewhere, most port jobs are done by a male-dominated workforce. About 300 SLPA employees are retiring each year. With rapidly advancing technology, there will be a growing demand for more women to enter the field. Women maritime industry professionals have been working tirelessly to attract a â€˜more diverse workforceâ€™ and to remove poor perceptions about career opportunities in the port, maritime and logistics sectors in Sri Lanka over the past several years.
Sri Lankan women professionals are yet to own a reasonable stake in the transport and logistics sectorâ€™s growing opportunities. In a country where women represent 52 percent of the population, womenâ€™s stake in the logistics sector is only 3%. If you study the women representation in the top five logistics companies in the country, the numbers will speak of that â€˜absenceâ€™.
Leading women in the industry are confident that the next generation of women has a great potential to enter the industry in big numbers, if the current â€˜male-dominatedâ€™ policies and rules are relaxed and young ones are properly educated about the opportunities in this profession.