Peradeniya academics | Daily News


What affects Sri Lankans’ employment decisions?

Peradeniya academics

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The seminar “Choosing to Work: Two Perspectives from Gender Economics” was held at Verité Research recently. Professor Dileni Gunewardena and Dr. Samanmala Dorabawila from the University of Peradeniya presented findings based on two studies that looked at the factors that affect people’s decision to join the labour market. Both speakers are a part of the newly launched Gender Analysis in Economics Initiative by the University of Peradeniya.

The first presentation, “How does schooling and cognitive/noncognitive skills affect employment decisions?” by Professor Dileni Gunewardena is part of ongoing researchwith Elizabeth M. King and Alexandria Valerio. Itexplored how cognitive and noncognitive skills affect the labour market choices men and women make in 13 middle-income countries, including Sri Lanka.

Key findings showed that noncognitive skills such as emotional stability, decision-making, extraversion, risk-taking and agreeableness had consequences for how men and women choose to work. For example, women who were bigger risk-takers were more likely to engage in formal employment than informal or self-employment.

The second presentation,“Work-life balance policies in developing countries”by Dr. Samanmala Dorabawila, looked at the effectiveness of work-life balance policies (WLB). Her findingsshowed that family responsibility enhancing policies were the most influential WLB area, followed by fair treatment, maternity and work, and forced labor policies. A key finding from the study was that Sri Lanka was among the countries that recorded the lowest level of implementation of such policies.

The University of Peradeniya recently launched the Gender Analysis in Economics Initiative. The program delivers courses on gender analysis in economics in a developing country context and is being carried out by the Postgraduate Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (PGIHS) in partnership with American University, Washington D.C. The program is aimed at giving analysts and advocacy groups the training and skills needed to be effective in designing and pushing for policies that promote gender equality worldwide.

The courses offer opportunities for interested candidates to study Gender Analysis in Economics through multiple pathways. Students can choose from among three coursework degrees and two research degrees.

Prospective candidates must have an undergraduate degree and the program is open for those with and without an economics background. Individuals who are not interested in enrolling for a degree can enroll in the three classes offered as independent (non-degree) candidates. More information on the courses can be requested from gendereconomics. [email protected] or [email protected]

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