Challenges faced by Women in Business, Science and Technology in Sri Lanka.

Abstract — -There are many factors that discourage women from seeking a tech-driven career. Girls start showing interest in tech careers at an early age, but lose interest soon after. Gender inequality is highly common in the tech industry, on top of all else. Unintentionally, corporations cultivate a society that discourage women to pursue a technology career. The objective of this research is to identify the public opinion in Sri Lanka on Women working in Business, Science and Technology industries. Based on a quantitative questionnaire, data for the study was collected. This study aims to respond to fundamental concerns in the public opinion on women employed in business, science and technology industries as well as the public opinion on women’s ability to place the same level of engagement and commitment as their male counterparts, in their respective work environments.


When living in a modern era; technology allows women to progress their careers and achievements through their culture of open sources. Presently, the principle of equality between women and women is round the world, with the underlying belief that it is unethical to deny rights depending on the sex of someone. While this principle is now accepted to be groundbreaking in a few parts of the world. It is meant to create universal human relations and whole cultures as citizenship. With emerging technology intruding into social contexts, society is under pressure to respond. In other words, people come up with technology that is evolving and adapting our traditions and habits to suit their needs. Computer technology or mobile devices give a clear example of social transition. Studies have shown that the successes and comments of women are faster to be ignored by administrators than those of white men or women. Managers, co-workers and executives have to continually point out times where the hard work of a woman goes unnoticed in order to create a stronger community.

In the last decade, Sri Lanka has sunk precipitously in the ranking of the global Gender Gap Report [1]. In 2006, out of 115 nations, Sri Lanka ranked 13th. In 2018, of 149 nations, its ranking was 100th. Given Sri Lanka ‘s noteworthy record for other measures of human growth, like parity or near parity on health and training initiatives, as seen below, the increasing gender gap is more shocking. Sri Lanka’s secondary school enrolment has been close to achieving its male counterparts for a long time. According to the 2018 global gender gap survey, 90% of Sri Lankan women have met at least 2% of their husbands compared to 88%. More women (23%) than women (15%) were involved in tertiary education [1].

The need to help ethnically and linguistically differing girls are brilliant in education and in culture as they organize, prepare for and contribute to their future lives. Women cannot pursue science at the same rate as men for a variety of reasons, including the lack of access for woman science mentors and the ambiguity of the existence of these pathways, and a pervasive misconception that girls are not serious with business, science or technology. While recent efforts have been made towards increasing the number of girls and women, they are still understated in Business, Science and Technology (BST). There are slightly fewer women students and staff in business, science and technology than men in BST. The BST gender difference is known as this imbalance between women and men. Although the gender gap has narrowed in the last decades, women are less likely than men to pursue BST occupations. In addition, evidence indicates that women will face unfair obstacles in seeking work in BST industries. In order for BSTs to be used for women’s empowerment, the access to affordable facilities and resources available is definitely a big requirement. The use of BST can also be affected by supply of power, transport, and safety.


In the Indian Ocean just south of India, Sri Lanka is a small island territory. It has had a tradition of social investments since its independence in 1948, making it one of South Asia ‘s best social indices. This includes a high literacy rate for women and men; substantial success in lowering death rates for babies , children and mothers; and a higher life span than its neighbors in South Asia [2]. After the Resolution on the Abolition of Violence against Women, at the 1993 United Nations Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, violence against women (VAW) arose from the private and family issue to a public issue [3]. The perceived rise in violence in recent years is likely due, particularly on December, to the present high awareness of press violations and movements against violence of these kinds [3]. A broad variety of qualitative studies provide insights on the multiple aspects of VAW, highlighting that conflict can arise independently of levels and ethnicity of wealth, work and schooling [3].

In tech, diversity is important because it makes it possible for businesses, not just one segment of society, to develop better or safer products and take account of everything. A McKinsey study [4] revealed that different businesses fare better than firms focused on diversity and inclusion, hire more staff, and attract employees more than businesses. However, the Information Technology position of women remains largely underrepresented [4]. Science and equality for women are vital to achieving the objectives of sustainable development in the world, and much has been achieved in recent years to encourage women and girls to study and work in scientific fields. Statistics from the following seven facets of Its work, from higher education to the working environment, offer a clear image of the difficulties faced by women in their role in Information Technology [4].

A. The employment gap

Women represent 47% of all adults working in the USA, but according to data presented by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) [5] in 2015 they perform just 25% of computational functions. Of those 25% who work in electronics, Asian women make up about 5%, while black and Hispanic women account respectively for 3% and 1% [4]. All this in spite of the fact that BST employment growth has exceeded overall employment growth in the world, with 79% rising in 1990, while overall unemployment, according to Pew Research Center [6] statistics, grew by 34%. Despite national talks over a lack of technology diversity, women skip this boom overwhelmingly[4].

B. The education gap

More women than ever get BST ratings from the National Science Foundation[7], and they are catching up with men who have graduated in science and engineering (S&E) [4]. However, in isolation across research, women received just 19% of the bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2016, compared to 27% in 1997 [4]. However, while women are less represented in departments with lower-level CS programs, in 2016 the number of women holding master degrees in computer science increased to 31% compared with 28% in 1997, compared with women holding more degree in computer science in the future is more possible [4].

C. The retention gap

After graduation, real work continues, and maybe perhaps more alarming is the statistics for women in the technology [4]. According to statistics from the National Science Foundation [7], only 38% of the women who have learned computer science work in this area, compared to 53% of the men [4]. Likewise, just 24% of women with a degree in engineering work , compared with 30% of males [4]. This is a consistent pattern, known as the ‘leaky pipeline,’ in which after graduation from BST it is difficult for women to maintain work [4].

D. Workplace culture gap

Women are not working at the same levels as men in technology — and one explanation can be seen in masculine workplaces [4]. In a 2017 survey in the Pew Research Center study [6], 50 % of women said their job was discriminated against by gender while only 19% said the same thing. For women with post-graduate education (62%), computers (74%) or workplaces with male master’s qualifications (78%) the figures were even higher [4]. When asked whether their sexuality makes it more difficult to excel at work, 20% of women said ‘yes’ and 36% said that sexual harassment is an issue in their workplace [4].

In addition to the elevated probability of bias against women in terms of ethnicity, male-dominated workplaces are less concerned about gender equity (43%) and make people believe like they ought to be proved every now and then (79%), according to Pew’s study[6] in 2017. By contrast, only 44 per cent of women who work in improved gender-diversity workplaces reported that they faced harassment based on gender at work, 15 per cent found their organizations’ emphasis on gender diversity to be “too poor,” and 52 per cent reported they believed they wanted to prove themselves [4]. While these statistics indicate that work still needs to be done, women in more teams that are uniform in gender are less likely to see gender inequality in the workplace [4]. They thought like their company would not offer them an incentive or advancement and that their ethnicity was less likely to hinder their organizational success. Women who work in male-dominated settings have become more likely to experience elevated rates of harassment against male and bullying workplaces [4].

E. The founder gap

Unconventional working contexts are known for start-ups, but women still battle — particularly if they’re the founder [4]. According to a Silicon Valley bank survey [8], only one in four start-ups has a founder female, 37% have at least one woman on the board of directors, and 53% have a female executive officer [4]. The research also reveals that the role of the creator explicitly impacts racial diversity [8]. For startups with a founder with at least 1 woman, 50% had a CEO for women , compared to only 5% for businesses with no founding woman [4]. Worse still, startups with at least one female founder reported finding financing more challenge, with 87% reporting that it was “something or really hard,” while only 78% of starting businesses without a female founder said the same thing [4].

F. The pay gap

In BST women are under-represented, and that hasn’t changed in more than 25 years [4]. While BST employees are generally slightly higher than non-BST workers, according to Pew Research [6] Center the gender disparity in BST employment is still wider than in non-BST professions. Women earn 87% of what men earn in computing [4]. For Black women in BST , who earn about 87% of white female pay and just 62% of what men receive, this statistic is much worse [4]. According to the 2019 IDC study on Women in Technology, women are still more concerned with salaries [4]. The misconception is that women are concerned about rewards and affordability, but 52% of women care and pay compared to 33% of men [4]. Furthermore, 75% of men agree that their boss receives fair pay while 42 % of women say the same thing [4].

G. IT leadership

IDC estimates that between 2018 and 2019 the proportion of women in senior management roles increased from 21% to 24% [4]. And that’s excellent news because women in senior management will have a positive effect on the dedication and retention of female workers [4]. In companies where women occupy up to 50% or more senior managerial positions, they are more likely to provide fair compensation and the possibility of women staying with the business for more than one year is improved [4]. Although these figures trend increasing, women are much less positive about their leadership than men [4]. The study revealed that 54% of men thought that their management in their organization was likely to be improved [4]. In the meantime, only 25 percent of women said the same thing and acknowledged a lack of encouragement, trust and direction as well as the need to “prove more than men to promote themselves” [4].

Women are in the minority when it comes to the world of science. Less than 30% of researchers in the world are women [9], and this under-representation exists in all regions of the world.

Figure 1: A breakdown of female researchers in Africa, Asia and the Pacific [9]

Almost half of the researchers in Central Asia are women. As the graph shows, for example, more than 80% of researchers in Myanmar are female, and in countries such as Azerbaijan, Thailand and Georgia, there are more women researchers than men. In South and West Asia, the average falls to 18.5%, with women accounting for less than 15% of researchers in India, falling to single figures in Nepal. For researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East nations, and countries in Central and Eastern Europe, female participation averages about 40%. Average values are about 30% for North America, Western Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. But in the African nation of Chad, women account for only 5% of researchers, the lowest rate of those surveyed.

In the study Gender Inequality Without Boundaries [10], which shows how gender roles are reinforced by the way women are characterized in films, gender differences in the US film industry are brought to light. The study [10] reveals that women occupy less than a third of all big screen speaking roles. On television, engineers, scientists and mathematicians, with seven times more male BST roles in films than female roles, are predominantly played by men. In reality, women were only 12% of characters with recognizable onscreen BST jobs. It’s a scenario that moves off the screen to impact regular expectations of gender roles [11].

Gender diversity creates goods, industries and markets of higher quality. In the end, diverse perspectives, experiences and ideas help make every organization or industry stronger. The risk of unequal pay and minimal career growth is faced by women who want to rise to the challenge and seek a BST career later. Additionally, economic growth and social change are negatively impacted by gender differences [9]. Gender disparities in Information Technology occupations tend to have a worldwide effect on business performance. In view of the existing lack of work in the Information Technology market, the elimination of the sources of leakage of women’s Information Technology work has been more critical than ever [12]. Technology has been correlated with improvements in the world, notably for women who face big entry, use and possession of technology barriers in their games. Although emerging developments bring immense potentials for economic growth, such as cell phone and digital media that enable trading and access to local and global markets [13].

Considering the above-mentioned gaps this research tries to identify Sri Lankan users’ opinion of women employed in business, science and technology industries and the opinion of users on women’s ability to place the same level of engagement as men. The survey will include numerous age groups in order to identify and capture the visions of technical industrial employees on women’s’ success in BST industries.

This research attempts to answer the following key questions:

· Opinion of users on women employed in business, science and technology industries.

· Opinion of users on women’s ability to place the same level of engagement as men.

· Opinion of users on girl’s interest shown for business, science and technology fields compared to boys during middle school.

In the course of the last decade, according to the Labor Survey in Sri Lanka, the participation rate for women is steadily rising [14]. However, this is a slight change and the participation rate of women employees is still less than half that of men [14]. The various publications on women in technology and science were a primary factor for undertaking this survey. It makes little economic sense only to describe gender diversity as a balance of female participation and inclusion. Further, since most of the technical industries mainly focus on prioritizing men over women while recruiting new employees as women intend to have more commitment to their families and insecurities as a gender bias problems in Sri Lanka [15].


Based on a quantitative design the questionnaire for data collection for the study was created. Questions were answered in multiple choice. In certain situations, however, after the query of the multiple-choice response, the respondents had the opportunity to discuss the choices not mentioned in the replies. This was taken as a description to gather further information.

A. Sample

A sample of 90 people has been chosen in this study. This was based on the [16] formulae that suggests population-based sample size. In Sri Lanka, an average response rate of 40% was found [17]. In the study questionnaire sense. The sample size was then extrapolated to 226, with 90 responses assuming a response rate of 40%. The analysis was conducted by general users in any area in Sri Lanka.

B. Sampling Technique

According to Stratified Random Sampling, the sample was chosen. Participants were grouped into strata depending on the gender (male or female) of respondents.


The questionnaire and answers were created using Google Forms. The questionnaire was quickly circulated by way of social media channels within the target population. 95 responses were sent within 2–3 weeks, 95 of which were taken into account.

The conceptual structure was used as the basis for the questionnaire in the literature review. In Part I of the questionnaire, demographic (age and gender), professional fields and employment goal of migrating are defined. Part II consists of 7 questions to answer multiple-choices, including 1 question that have the option of listing other alternatives that have not been listed in the answers. Part II seeks to classify the above-mentioned key questions.

The Google Form questionnaire has been validated and found acceptable in the Information Technology for 2 individual ladies to gather sufficient data.


Data obtained via Google forms have been checked and evaluated on the basis of demographics and the user industries. The tables and illustrations in the following section examine the answer to the questionnaire.


Analysis of the results shows that majority of users are from the age categories 25–34 (43.2%) and 15–24 (36.8%). The total of these two categories make up 80% of the sample. This can be due to the heavy employment of women in young generations who are most likely to compete with men in their same generation. Whilst the 35 or above category generation women are most intend to be traditional housewives.


A. Industrial Sectors of Employment

It was observed that the majority of female users in the age categories of 15–24(53.6%) and 25–34(81.3%) are from Information Technology industries.


B. Opinion on Migrating for work

With this question it was observed that majority of respondents with the interest of migrating are female (69.4%). And majority of respondents who does not have any interest in migrating are Male (56.5%).


C. Opinion of users on girl’s interest shown for business, science and technology fields compared to boys during middle school.

Majority of the respondents (49.5%) stated that interest shown for business, science and technology fields by girls compared to boys during middle school is same.

Figure 2: Interest shown in BST

D. Aptitude for success in the fields of Business, Science and Technology for both women and men

It was observed that the majority (66.3%) of users’ opinion is aptitude for success in the fields of Business, Science and Technology is similar for both women and men.

Figure 3:Aptitude for success

E. Priority and importance given to women during recruitment.

With the responses to this question it was observed that majority of users (53.7%) think that Women get less importance than men during recruitment while 43.2% of respondents think Women get same importance than men during recruitment.

Figure 4:Priority and importance given to women

F. Opinion of users on married women’s ability to place the same level of commitment as married men.

The answer to this question must be expected to treated with concern. Majority of users’ (48.4%) opinion is married women have the ability to place the same level of commitment in their employment as married men.

Figure 5: Married women commitment


One of the key findings of this research is that whilst 53.7% think that Women get less importance than men during recruitment, 48.4% of users’ opinion is married women have the ability to place the same level of commitment in their employment as married men.

With the survey results we can conclude that majority of Sri Lanka’s public are of the opinion that the importance given to employment of women is less than that of men. Further, it was concluded that majority of the public opinion in Sri Lanka is that married women have the ability to place the same level of commitment in their employment as married men irrespective of the responsibilities in the household.

It should be noted that this analysis was restricted to a survey of 90 customers in every manufacturing field because of time and money constraints. A further research focusing on the students and key individuals in businesses and key government officials will also have insights into the public opinion on women’s roles in industry, science and technology in the various ages.

At national and organizational (public and private) levels, public opinion can be described. In order to secure a larger audience, the importance of women in jobs and the progress of women in industry, research and the strategies would be best done if brainstorming campaigns are carried out in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages in Sri Lanka.


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