‘No glass ceiling’- Women’s Chamber | Daily News

‘No glass ceiling’- Women’s Chamber

Rohini Nanayakkara
Rohini Nanayakkara

The Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) discussed the non-existence of a glass ceiling in the 21st century. Author and former business leader Rohini Nanayakkara said that there was no glass ceiling and even in her experience in the 20th century there was scope for women to succeed.

Rohini Nanayakkara was the first female executive to start work at a bank. Her appointment at the Bank of Ceylon was the beginning of a long career in banking at many reputed institutions including Seylan Bank and LOLC. She was the first woman General Manager/CEO of a Bank in Sri Lanka and the Asian Region.

Nanayakkara was discussing her book What Glass Ceiling?recently with the WCIC.

Nanayakkara said about reaching the top “if a woman really wants to get there I know it is hard with a husband but she can get there.” Nanayakkara was one in seven children and as such never expected special treatment. Nanayakkara felt her large family meant that she did not have a grandiose notion of self-importance.

Nanayakkara though a graduate in economics was dissuaded by her friends from joining the banking service. She was able to relent and secure herself an interview.

Her interviewer at the time was not concerned with her gender but rather whether she would show up to work even in the instance of strike action. She reassured him that she would show up to work and secured herself the position. Nanayakkara sullied the proposed quota system for women on company boards. She said “I don’t approve of quotas. You have to be selected by your peers and organization. If you come on a quota system it doesn’t help much for both parties.”

Nanayakkara said that her career was assisted by World Bank restructuring which helped her climb the corporate ladder. She was also able to prove her worth during the 1988 JVP insurrection by showing up for work. She noted that there was equal opportunity in education. She said her career was greatly enriched by her ability to travel extensively both locally and internationally. DP