A workshop was conducted by ESCAMP to mark International Women’s Day 2022 at Saptha Parisara Mandapaya in Sampathpaya, Battaramulla under the chairmanship of Project Director Mr. Anura Sathurusinghe.
While over 50 working women participated in this workshop, two specialists made presentations based on ‘Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow,’ which was the theme of International Women’s Day 2022.
Working towards a better world
Dr. Vishaka Hidellage enlighted the participants on building a sustainable tomorrow with gender participation. She presented a number of examples from China and the United Kingdom. In the early 50’s, environment pollution was very high in both these countries. Water and air pollution was at dangerously high levels and this made the environment unsuitable for human wellbeing. Similarly, after the Industrial Revolution, the environment was heavily polluted by industries due to hazardous waste material. However, both countries took remedial steps to minimise pollution levels while improving their waste disposal systems. Now, they benefit from these better systems and are moving towards a sustainable future. Sri Lanka too could follow a similar process with the support of international development agencies and other interested parties. Women’s participation for a better world should not be undermined as pollution could be curbed by women in their homes through practical application and by guiding family members in this direction.
Creating an enabling environment
“This year theme: Gender equality today for sustainable tomorrow indicates that gender equality is essential to have a sustainable tomorrow,” stated Dr S.B.D. Dissanayake who also emphasised that when gender equality is ensured within a given society, socio-economic and techno-environmental development occurs. He went on to state that, “there are various dimensions to gender equality, and that structural, technological, and social changes are needed to ensure an enabling environment for women’s advancement.” Dr Dissanayake went on to state that Women’s advancement depends on ‘how’ instead of ‘what’ they are expected to do.
Traditional gender roles at all spheres also provide new roles for women. When we consider the present situation of the country – energy crisis, rising inflation, health issues, and so on – women are facing massive pressures. Women are rising up to play a new role in such crisis situations. The program ended with a lively discussion among the participants who represented the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Forest Department as well as the Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project.