Lankan women in IT commit to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Wednesday, 7 March 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Diversity Collective exchange best practices on diversity and inclusion
  • Three pillars in focus to improve and drive women’s engagement in IT

 In a bid to bring gender diversity to the forefront, a group of high-profile professionals from some of Sri Lanka’s leading technology-driven companies have committed time, effort and energy towards a series of programs under ‘Driving gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace.’ The working group –‘Diversity Collective’ – is committed to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and promoting the future of young and aspiring female IT students. Diversity Collective comprises employees from the London Stock Exchange Group, MillenniumIT, WSO2, Virtusa, and Fortitude. 

Initiated by the Asian Development Bank, together with the Export Development Bank of Sri Lanka as the nodal agency, Diversity Collective aims to create an inclusive culture in the IT industry that will increase gender diversity. It will also facilitate SLASSCOM’s objectives to increase the number of female IT graduates, fulfilling the criteria of diversity in potential partners, building community wide awareness of career opportunities for women in IT and Business Process Management (BPM). The overarching aim is to empower women and girls to choose careers in IT and BPM and enabling them to remain and advance their careers in the sector. The program will provide a platform for change by bringing together senior IT and BPM professionals and influencers to foster related discussion, collaboration and action. 

London Stock Exchange Group Head of HR – Sri Lanka Bani Chandrasena said “Diversity Collective is a group of volunteers who have come together to further the agenda for diversity in the workplace. We believe that it is important to focus on diversity and an inclusive environment where all our people feel valued for who they are. Diversity Collective will strive to break down barriers by sharing experiences and encouraging future employees to realise their full potential in every aspect of life.” 

The executive core committee of Diversity Collective includes President Chinthi Weerasinghe, Vice President Hemantha Jayawardena, Chief Marketing Officer Bani Chandrasena, Treasurer Chamila Cooray and Secretary Tania Samarasinghe. 

The initial focus of Diversity Collective will be across three pillars – schools, higher education and corporates – to attract, grow and retain females into IT and BPM careers. They aim to attract female students to follow STEM subjects that are important in the pursuance of IT as a career and then guide young women towards a career in IT/BPM sector. For women already in the sector, Diversity Collective will focus on retention, empowerment and growth. 

Under the school and higher education pillars, educative forums and interactive discussions have been held for students studying ICT as a career path. Participants were taken through a series of programs that address common misconceptions about the industry. Under the theme ‘Marketing yourself,’ they also had the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of corporate etiquette, interview techniques and recruitment policies. 

More recently, trainee teachers were taken through a series of programs that help them guide, teach, and encourage students to pursue ICT as a viable career option. The forum actively encouraged these young trainees to participate in and gather information on the possibilities of a career in ICT for their female students. 

The series of programs continues on until 8 March, culminating in a Women’s Day breakfast event.