ChapterPDF Available

Women's Activity Outcomes, Preferences and Time Use in Western Sri Lanka


Abstract and Figures

This study addresses three important gaps in knowledge and research about women’s labour force participation in Sri Lanka. While previous research used national sample survey data to infer factors underlying women’s participation decisions through actual outcomes, this study aimed to ask these questions of women themselves. Using data from a sample of 500 married women in Western Sri Lanka, it investigates women’s perceptions about the activities they were engaged in, whether what they were currently doing was what they liked to do, and what other activities they might consider taking up and supporting conditions. The study also investigates perceptions of wives and husbands about gender roles and investigates the extent to which these perceptions were associated with the wives’ decision to participate. The division of paid and unpaid work between women and their husbands is also examined, and the extent to which time spent on unpaid work is associated with the probability of wives participating in the labour market investigated. Controlling for other factors, the study finds that perceptions of gender roles and times spent on household chores and care work are statistically significant predictors of whether wives engage in market work. Policy implications are drawn while the study also draws attention to the need to adapt household bargaining models to analyze the relationship between marriage and the labour market in developing countries. The study argues that where the working environment is hostile to women's paid work as in developing countries, the institution of marriage may be the only source economic sustenance, social protection and social capital.
Content may be subject to copyright.
A preview of the PDF is not available
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
This study aims to identify the trends and problems related to enhance labour force participation of women in childbearing ages in Sri Lanka. Given the prevailing economic and demographic structure of the country increasing female labour force participation is of utmost importance. Issues related to supply as well as demand of female labour force participation were analyzed, using an employee survey, case studies and in-depth interviews. Results imply that there is a conflict of interest between employees and employers on maternity and child care benefits that has an impact on employment with adverse effects on female labour force participation. Government intervention is likely to be important in solving child care issues related to female labour force participation in Sri Lanka, not only through regulating child care institutions but in providing tax relief to companies that provide child care that would on the one hand reduce the Work Related Costs (WRC) of women, encouraging greater participation and reducing child care provision costs of the firm, which in turn would reduce the burden on shareholders and hence encourage such a process.
'Boserup's contribution to our thinking on women's role in development cannot be underestimated. Her keen observations, her use of empirical data and her commitment to greater gender equality are still an inspiration to students, researchers and activists who are interested in a better and more equal world.' From the new Introduction by Nazneen Kanji, Su Fei Tan and Camilla Toulmin 'Women's Role in Economic Development has become a key reference book for anyone - student, scholar, or practitioner - interested in gender and development analyses. This book is important not only because it provided the intellectual underpinning of the Women in Development (WID) analysis, but also because of the lasting influence it had on the development of theoretical, conceptual, and policy thinking in the fields of women, gender, and development. The re-editing of Women's Role in Economic Development, with its new introduction, ensures students, academics, and practitioners continued access to an essential reference for those interested in the women and development literature.' Gender and Development This classic text by Ester Boserup was the first investigation ever undertaken into what happens to women in the process of economic and social growth throughout the developing world, thereby serving as an international benchmark. In the context of the ongoing struggle for women's rights, massive urbanization and international efforts to reduce poverty, this book continues to be a vital text for economists, sociologists, development workers, activists and all those who take an active interest in women's social and economic circumstances and problems throughout the world. A substantial new Introduction by Nazneen Kanji, Su Fei Tan and Camilla Toulmin reflects on Boserup's legacy as a scholar and activist, and the continuing relevance of her work. This highlights the key issue of how the role of women in economic development has or has not changed over the past four decades in developing countries, and covers crucial current topics including: women and inequality, international and national migration, conflict, HIV and AIDS, markets and employment, urbanization, leadership, property rights, global processes, including the Millennium Development Goals, and barriers to change.
The purpose of this article is to advance a new understanding of gender as a routine accomplishment embedded in everyday interaction. To do so entails a critical assessment of existing perspectives on sex and gender and the introduction of important distinctions among sex, sex category, and gender. We argue that recognition of the analytical independence of these concepts is essential for understanding the interactional work involved in being a gendered person in society. The thrust of our remarks is toward theoretical reconceptualization, but we consider fruitful directions for empirical research that are indicated by our formulation.