Stories

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Ishan Priyaranga, 27, is Minister of Public Transport (Kalutara District) in the Youth Parliament of Sri Lanka. In October 2021, Priyaranga attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Vilashini Weerasinghe is Assistant Director of the Sri Lanka Planning Service, a Government institution in Badulla, capital of Uva Province. She has been working to address issues faced by plantation workers for the last 17 years. In October 2021, Weerasinghe attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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Chandrawathi Dissanayaka, based in Siyambalanduwa, in Uva Province of Sri Lanka, is the first and only woman elected as president of a Pradeshiya Sabha [local authority] in the country. In October 2021, Dissanayaka attended a series of “multi-party dialogues” that UN Women hosted as part of its project, funded by the Government of Japan, on Implementing the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka.
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“We … have a host of cultural barriers that prevent women from seeking help. For example, victims of violence are often threatened not to go to court and are subject to extreme physical and psychological abuse. Women also find legal battles as a ‘hassle’ to their daily lives, because they have to juggle multiple responsibilities at home and work.
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Based on international standards, many policies have been put forward to ensure the safety of women and to address inequalities. However, implementation is lacking. If a woman goes to the police station to make a complaint, the system is such that they don’t often feel safe and protected.
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[Press release] During her official visit to Sri Lanka recently, the Officer-in-Charge for UN Women Asia and the Pacific met with key partners to reaffirm UN Women’s commitment to ensure that women and girls are not left behind amidst recovery from the ongoing economic crisis.
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Using her skills in palm-weaving, Lucia, 42 sells a variety of custom-made products to provide an additional income to her family. “For us, even a small income goes a long way”, she says. Lucia has been specializing in palm-weaving since 2014. However, from the beginning of her craft-making career, she has had to face persistent challenges to prove her capabilities in what she calls a ’man’s world.” The trainings and support provided to Lucia and Kamalawathi are part of a project titled Implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Sri Lanka, which UN Women implements with the State Ministry of Women and Child Development, Pre-Schools and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services.
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The brunt of the pandemic has been borne by women and girls. Emerging evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing vulnerabilities faced by women and girls and threatened to further widen gender and socioeconomic inequalities. Yet, during this difficult time, women around the world have exhibited remarkable resilience in contributing to the response effort as well as economic recovery.
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Addressing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence is an integral aspect of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda. 46-year-old L.D. W Sanjeewani is a Chief Inspector of Police, serving in the Polonnaruwa Police Division in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. She has over 25 years of experience helping survivors of violence.
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[Press Release] In Sri Lanka, women are denied equal access to the jobs market not just because of family or social factors, but also by employers. This is the focus of a report launched by UN Women today, titled Gender Disparities and Labour Market Challenges: The Demand for Women Workers in Sri Lanka. This report is amongst the first in the country to illustrate the largely unexplored factors on the part of employers and firms that prevent women from entering the paid workforce.
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Madam Maa Zenai stands proudly at the entrance to her brand-new shed. Inside is the small herd of cattle that has changed her life, thanks to a project that employed a ground-breaking partnership between IFAD and UN Women to empower rural women in China.
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Over 60 participants from government agencies, embassies, United Nations agencies, academia and business enterprises attended the dialogue, Biodiversity and Climate Change from a Gender Perspective. Over 320,000 other people participated via online livestreaming. Smriti Aryal, Country Representative of UN Women China, said that in order to strengthen the resilience of women to climate shocks and enhance their participation in climate action.
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[Press release] SALAM was launched by the Governance of Labour Migration in South and South-East Asia (GOALS), a regional programme jointly implemented by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UN Women, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The hub seeks to be a one-stop platform serving policy makers, civil society actors, social partners and other stakeholders with knowledge, information, networks, and policy solutions leading to positive changes in labour migration policies and practices.
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Bhagya Krishanthi, 43, is the owner and manager of a boarding house and a small corner grocery store in Malabe, a suburb a few kilometres outside of the commercial capital of Colombo. She built up her store from humble beginnings, first selling simple items such as coconuts, oil and eggs, then expanding into a larger variety of goods when more capital and profits trickled in.
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Eleven Chinese businesses were granted Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Awards by UN Women China, in partnership with the EU Delegation to China. The award ceremony took place during the 2021 International Conference on Gender Equality and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The WEPs Awards celebrate the efforts of private-sector companies in addressing gender inequalities in the new normal of a post COVID-19 world.
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Shreen Saroor runs the Women’s Action Network (WAN) in Sri Lanka, a collective of women’s groups that empowers and advocates for women and women survivors of war, violence and other injustices. As the Generation Equality Forum – a landmark event to catalyze rapid advancement on gender equality – approaches, she calls on leaders to close the gaps between policies and implementation. The Forum is convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society.
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When UN Women first began to consider the way that climate change was hitting rural women in China, it was Qinghai that first came to mind. A large, sparsely populated province stretched high across the Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai has seen an unprecedented jump in precipitation and extreme weather, wreaking havoc on rural livelihoods. Its rural labor force also has a largely female face, being around 70-80 per cent women.
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Rajeshwari Diaz, 46, and Kaweeda Manohari, 48, are among the many women who have seen these benefits as they attend trainings and community dialogues organized by a project called Promoting Women’s Engagement in Effective Solid Waste Management. UN Women is running the project jointly with United Nations Office for Project Services and Chrysalis, a local non-governmental organization. The 2020-2021 project is expected to directly benefit about 4,000 people in Puttalam and Mannar, fishing and agricultural districts along Sri Lanka’s western coast.
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Women-owned businesses that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving support with recovery efforts from a new project jointly implemented by UN Women China and the All-China Women’s Federation.The project, Supporting Women to Recover from the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19, was launched in Wuhan on 16 September. It is funded by China’s Rockcheck Puji Foundation. The project will target women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in two of the Chinese cities most-affected by the pandemic, Wuhan and Tianjin.
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From cooking and cleaning to taking care of children and the elderly, household care work is the backbone of thriving families, communities and economies. Yet many cultures traditionally have regarded men as the breadwinners and women as the caregivers, with unpaid care work their “natural responsibility”. In China, women spend around 2.5 times as much time as men on unpaid care work.