The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed thousands of lives worldwide. As expected with any respiratory illness, there is clear evidence that smokers are much more vulnerable to COVID-19 than non-smokers. This blog discusses how smokers can make the crisis worse and provides short term policy recommendations that can help control the spread of the disease in Sri Lanka. In particular, the blog makes a compelling case for imposing a temporary ban on cigarette sales in Sri Lanka.
The world is on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is affecting the way people live, work, do business, and interact. Newly emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IOT), virtual reality, and 3D printing are fast becoming the new normal. Therefore, it is important to explore the development challenges for South Asia in the new era of the 4IR. In this context, one of the plenary sessions at the 12th South Asia Economic Summit (SAES XII) explored the links between 4IR and SDGs at the regional level.
Greater Social Protection for Sri Lankan Women through Better Jobs: Role of Technology and Innovation
Globally, 740 million women are employed in the informal economy, with limited access to social protection. In this context, this year the United Nations (UN) celebrated the International Women’s Day (IWD), under the theme ‘think equal, build smart, innovate for change’, focusing on how countries can achieve gender equality and empower women, particularly through social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructure. Sunimalee Madurawala highlights the labour market conditions that hinder social protection coverage for women and examines how technology and innovation can help increase labour market access and opportunities for women.
It has become apparent that natural disasters have a gender aspect, where women are often affected more severely than men. A woman’s pre-disaster familial responsibilities are magnified and expanded by a disaster, often with significantly less support and resources. The author argues that, given that women are often in a disadvantaged position in many contexts, the promotion of gender equality implies that attention need to be paid to female empowerment in disaster management.
When it comes to empowering Sri Lankan women in economic terms, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. It is important to look at the differences in women’s needs and priorities from different settings, in order to introduce more effective development efforts. On International Women’s Day, this blog analyses the issues faced by rural and urban women and discusses ways in which these women can be empowered using a variety of strategies.