Despite its growing importance, women are highly underrepresented in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, with females accounting for less than 10% of the workforce. Moreover, female enrollment in hotel schools in Sri Lanka is disturbingly low. These figures do not bode well in the context of a growing sector and the country’s already low female labour force participation rate. Within Sri Lanka’s hospitality sector, men are found to outnumber women in all occupational categories, except for Guest Relations and Front Office staff and Marketing functions. Thus, attracting more women into the sector will help to address the growing labour shortage, a crucial deterrent to the industry’s growth.
Sri Lanka appears to do relatively well in terms of gender representation in the broad field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. However, significant gender differences in enrollments exist within STEM fields. In the context of an upcoming technology-driven Fourth Industrial Revolution, being equipped with STEM-related skills will be increasingly important to survive in the future labour market, argues Ashani Abayasekara.