Her Market supports women-led small businesses in Sri Lanka

Her Market supports women-led small businesses in Sri Lanka

According to the International Labour Organisation, closing the gender gap in participation by 25% by 2025 could increase global GDP by US$5.3 trillion. Women drive economic growth, foster social development, and create a more equitable society. Yet, despite the progress we have made, gender disparities persist in many areas of life, including the workforce, business, technology, access to resources, and so much more. According to the World Economic Forum, in 2023, it will take another 131 years to reach gender parity due to the current state of the world. 

In Sri Lanka, the situation is the same. Women comprise 51% of the population in our country, but their labour force participation is only 33%, according to the World Bank. Closing the gender gap in employment could skyrocket Sri Lanka’s GDP by up to 20%, says the International Monetary Fund. With our current and ongoing economic crisis, this advancement in closing the gender gap and increasing women’s participation in the labour force will significantly impact our economy.

Her Market – hosted by Made by Her

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute to over half of our national GDP and employ 45% of our country’s workforce. Unlike their male counterparts, women, particularly those running micro-enterprises in rural, estate and urban areas, often encounter gender-biased practices, gendered social norms and stereotypical attitudes that question their contribution, capabilities and skills as an entrepreneur. 

According to a study by the Asian Development Bank conducted in 1999, women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka encounter challenges such as limited access to finance, limited financial literacy, marketing networks, technology, and land and property. Additionally, social and cultural barriers, including household duties and mobility restrictions, further hinder women’s ability to succeed in business. Sexual and gender-based violence also contribute significantly to women’s access to and control of economic resources. This hasn’t changed much since then.

Her Market is organized by Made by Her in partnership with the Strengthening Social Cohesion and Peace in Sri Lanka programme (SCOPE), co-financed by the European Union and German Federal Foreign Office. SCOPE is implemented by The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, Prisons Affairs and Constitutional Reforms (MoJ).

Her Market provides a platform for women entrepreneurs to overcome these barriers and showcase their talents and products to a broader audience. By supporting women-led small businesses, we promote gender equality, drive economic growth and create more inclusive communities in Sri Lanka. 

With live demonstrations of traditional crafts like Laksha carving and Beeralu weaving by women artisans, attendees can experience the country’s rich artistic traditions firsthand. These traditional crafts are a testament to Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage and a source of income for many women artisans. Moreover, Her Market also features tri-lingual cultural performances, highlighting the diversity and richness of Sri Lanka’s cultural landscape. 

At its core, Her Market is about building inclusive communities and economies. By bringing together women entrepreneurs, artists, performers, and community members across the country, Her Market creates a space for networking, learning, mutual support, and inspiration. 

Mark your calendars and join us at Her Market on March 23rd from 10 AM to 8 PM. 

Together, we can create a bright and just society for all Sri Lankans!