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Stakeholder workshop on gender analysis in economics

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In recognition of the knowledge, training and research needs for gender-aware policy making, the University of Peradeniya Postgraduate Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences is preparing to offer two postgraduate courses that focus on a gender-sensitive analysis of economic theory and policy. The initiative is led by senior academics from the University of Peradeniya Department of Economics and Statistics, with the support of the Program in Gender Analysis in Economics of the Department of Economics, American University in Washington, D.C., and the generous sponsorship of Foundation Open Society Insitutes, Switzerland. 

In this context, the University of Peradeniya’s PGIHS will be holding two stakeholder workshops in Kandy and Colombo in August. The workshops will engage stakeholders from Government departments, the corporate sector, academia and research institutes, non-Governmental organisations, development practitioners and civil society organisations, advocacy groups, and activists. Prof. Maria Floro, an internationally recognised expert in Gender Economics and Professor in the Department of Economics, American University, Washington, D.C., will give the keynote address.

Gender equality has intrinsic as well as instrumental value. While Sri Lanka has laudable achievements in gender equality in human capital outcomes, these achievements in improving women’s health and education have not necessarily translated into more equitable access to economic opportunities and productive resources. Women in Sri Lanka continue to have lower labour force participation, and earn less than men when they do participate in the labour force, whether as employees, or as self-employed entrepreneurs. They also continue to have inequitable access to land, capital, and technology, and lower returns when they do have access, and continue to bear disproportionate responsibility for domestic (unpaid family) work, and are over-represented in the informal and care economies. In many households in Sri Lanka, they have limited ability to make their own choices in important areas that determine their economic empowerment.

While there are policies and programs in place to foster women’s empowerment, an insufficient understanding of gender dynamics can lead to poor results. This has led to an increasing awareness on the part of governments for the need for gender-aware analyses of existing policies and programs, and for integrating gender analysis in the policy formulation stage in the government decision making process. Sri Lanka was among the first few developing countries where gender budgeting was initiated, although there is much room for improvement. Likewise, rigorous training in gender analysis in economics can strengthen the basis of advocacy. 

The workshop aims to generate awareness about the Gender Economics courses that will be introduced within four postgraduate degree programs at the University of Peradeniya, and more broadly, of what constitutes a gender-aware analysis of microeconomic and macroeconomic issues, gather feedback from stakeholders on existing knowledge gaps, whether in training or research, facilitate future networking opportunities with partner organisations and/or among partner organisations and foster an ethos of taking in to account the contribution of gender dynamics in economic issues.

For more information, please contact gendereconomics.pdn@gmail.com 

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