Mar 07, Colombo: The significant progress Sri Lanka has achieved towards equality for women with positive gender indicators in health and education however, has not translated into equal opportunities for women, the United Nations marking the International Women's Day 2011 says.
The recent progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) highlights a range of inequities between men and women in Sri Lanka.
The most apparent gap between the sexes, the report says, is the participation in the labor force. In the participation rate Sri Lanka records the twentieth largest gap between the sexes.
According to the Department of Census and Statistics the labor force participation rate of women for the third quarter of 2010 is only 29.8 percent.
The report also notes that participation of women in parliament continues to be low with only 5.7% of parliamentarians being women.
The UN notes that fewer than 10 percent of the countries in the world have female heads of state or government, and even where women are prominent in politics, they are often under-represented in other areas of decision-making, including at the highest level of business and industry.
In a message released to mark the 100th commemoration of International Women's Day, the United Nations stresses the importance of equal access to education, training and science and technology to drive economic growth, empower women, and ensure the wellbeing of their families, their communities, and nations.
The global agency says this year's theme "Equal access to education, training and science and technology: pathway to decent work for women," is more important now than ever because wide differences within and across countries continue to persist despite a closing gender gap in education.
The United Nations called on all nations to strive to ensure the full and equal participation of women in all areas of public and private life.