Female Futures Forum presents new economic power to harness for better businesswomen

Monday, 16 October 2017 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • What if 52% of Lankan population is an underutilised economic force holding enormous power that could transform our economy? Female leaders in business join forces with international market foresight experts to discuss the power of the woman in the dawning new age of business

Ruth Marshall-Johnson 

There is a massive wave sweeping across the world that discusses, encourages, empowers and liberates the woman today. The female, her role and her relevance is a recurring topic on social media feeds, mainstream news, entertainment, politics and social narratives. It is also visibly evident that more and more women are taking on active roles in business. Interestingly, lead positions in businesses, even those in industries that have been historically male dominated such as tech, are being taken up by women. 

In Sri Lanka where cultural constraints play a more domineering role in women’s lives, the 2015 estimates record the rate of labour force participation among women to be 35.9. This means that a disproportionate majority of women remain outside the labour market, with no access to wages, pensions and other benefits tied to gainful employment. What does this mean to the Sri Lankan economy? In Asia alone, UNESCAP estimates that lack of female participation in business result in a loss of $42-$47 billion per year. Other studies also highlight significant losses to GDP that occur due to gender asymmetries in business. Is Sri Lanka missing out on big business? Time is ripe for change.

Female Futures Forum is a unique new conference launched with the idea of bringing this topic to the foreground as Sri Lankan businesses look to meet the future. It makes a bold start towards new thinking patterns that encourages the corporate world to looks differently at their female workforces, understanding their unique potentials, strengths, needs and contributions. It is a powerful delivery of intriguing discussion, inspiring presentations and illuminating talks by female leaders in industry, leading international trend analysts and foresight generators who have the latest insight and research on women’s role in the corporate world, and businesswomen and entrepreneurs. While the conference will have a strong focus on the fashion and apparel industry which has an enormous number of female employees, it remains relevant to all industries, brands and businesses who wish to make the best out of the female led emotional economy, increased purchasing and decision-making power of women and womenomics in general. The forum will be held as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and aims to attract men and women alike from varying industries

Among the speakers of this thought-provoking forum is The Future Laboratory which is the world’s premier business foresight consultancy. Ruth Marshall-Johnson who is the foresight director of the brand will present their highly acclaimed insight into the future of the female and how women’s unique qualities from high sensitivity, empathy, fluid tasking ability, etc. will be the leading qualities needed by businesses in the next decade. Leading regional female entrepreneurs Linda Speldewinde behind AOD, fashionmarket.lk and several more winning initiatives will share her thoughts on empowering the female though work, from young design students in Colombo to elderly artisans in rural Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Manjula Tewari who founded CoverPage in India will share the road to her dreams as a woman entrepreneur.  Other sessions include panel discussion featuring a diverse line-up of influential leaders who will share their personal stories of female entrepreneurship and intraprenuership, life in the corporate world and their hopes for the future and the role of men in leadership positions who have helped women become more empowered by examining the concepts of power, privilege, fluidity and diversity. Another panel discussion includes female leaders of the next generation, who are venturing into building new success stories out of family businesses and carving their own niche.

The Female Futures Forum is held as part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week on 29 October at Mercedes Benz Centre of Excellence – DIMO 800. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is Conceptualised by – AOD along with the DIMO Mercedes-Benz as Fashion Runways Partner , Endorsement Partners – EDB & JAAF, Industry Patrons - MAS Holdings, Brandix and Hirdaramani, Thread & Zip Partner – COATS , Fashion Retail Partner - Fashionmarket.lk, Hair & Makeup – Salon KESS, Official Host – Mount Lavinia Hotel, Official, Airline Partner – Etihad Airways, Technology Partner – GT Nexus, Cultural Partners – German Embassy of Sri Lanka & Brazillian Embassy – Sri Lanka , Print Media Partners – Wijeya Group , Online Media Partner – Life Online, Beverage Partner – Freelanka , Official Telecommunications Partner – Dialog Print Partner – Softwave and Paper Partner – Papyrus. For partnerships, participation and more information on Female Futures Forum contact: 0115867772/3, 0763427772/AOD: 29, Lauries Road, Colombo 4.