Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) Sri Lanka concluded yet another successful event held at Cinnamon Grand Hotel to celebrate Women’s Day 2021 with two-panel discussions and members’ fellowship.
President of WISTA Sri Lanka NiluMediwaka Wickremasinghe, (Director, SALOTA International) addressed the gathering where she highlighted the importance of achieving gender equality and minimizing the gender gap. She also emphasized the positive impact gender equality will bring in to the national economy. She further elaborated on the objectives of WISTA Sri Lanka and the activities carried out to empower women in Shipping and Logistics which include promoting shipping and logistics as a preferred industry from a job entry point, strengthening skills and competencies with various initiatives, providing networking and mentoring opportunities. The first panel discussion themed the future of Sri Lanka’s Logistics and female participants with a challenging and thought-provoking session moderated by Maersk Lanka Country Sales Head Randima Krishnaratne with two reputed Industry leaders, Hayleys Advantis Managing Director Ruwan Waidyaratne, and Expo Lanka Holding Group CEO Hanif Yusoof. They shared views on an industry with only 3% female participation and what needs to be done to encourage and empower more women to join this industry. Ruwan Waidyaratne in his address said “I have two wishes for the Industry, one is there will be policy consistency and better integration of all authorities concerned. The second being that the industry would swiftly embrace technology to create better stakeholder value”. Hanif Yusoof said, “I am an impatient man and I make things happen, if Sri Lanka is to truly become a hub the ease of doing business has to improve “.
The second panel discussion on inclusivity – achieving an equal world moderated by GAC group CEO Ravi Edirisinghe with an eminent panel comprising of Indira Trust Chairperson Dr Lanka Dissanayake, Maersk Pakistan Managing Director Aruna Hussain, Mrs World 2020 Caroline Jurie, SAGT Chief Commercial Officer Ted Muttiah, Psychologist Rasini Bandara, and McLarens Group. Managing Director Shehara Jayawardena,
Lanka Dissanayake sharing her views said women must look after themselves, TLC campaign is all about this and all women over the age of 20 years must do a self-breast examination every month”. Rasini Bandara said “Women empowerment is something we all have within us and it’s a matter of understanding that, you need to believe in your self first to build that empowerment in you, then only you will have the power of empowering another human being. Caroline Jurie shared her story of why women should stand up for themselves irrespective of their appearance as beauty is more about women feeling confident about themselves to stand up against any challenges they face.
Shehara Jayawardena in her address spoke about unconscious biases affecting gender equality at Organizations. She also said “many companies have shown their commitment to gender equality by establishing family-friendly policies and facilitating women’s careers and professional networks.
Nevertheless, unconscious gender bias continues to impact women in the workplace, and more must be done to enable highly skilled women to advance into leadership positions”.
WISTA firmly believes and advocates inclusivity in the workplace giving equal opportunities for women to rise in their respective careers. WISTA has carried out many such initiatives in the past empowering and coaching women to become a powerful force in the industry.