200,000 women unemployed – Eran
A total of 200,000 women between the ages of 20 and 40 are unemployed, Samagi Jana Balawegaya Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne, speaking in Parliament on 20 October, said.
He therefore requested that to make these women employable in the private sector, the Government should come forward to pay these women their maternity benefits as and when applicable, as an incentive to the private sector to employ such.
Such a forward-looking step can be taken by the Government for a low expenditure of Rs 4.2 billion, he further said. Globally, 129 countries extend maternity benefits, Wickramaratne said. Of these 129 countries, a total of 96 of such countries bear the total cost of maternity benefits, Wickramaratne further said. Additionally, 33 of such countries bear half of such maternal benefit costs, he said.
Speaking further, he said that the ‘Samurdhi’ costs the Government Rs 37 billion. The Government plans to recruit unemployed graduates, however, it is yet to explain how they propose to fund such expenses, said Wickramaratne.
He also said nearly 60 per cent of those employed in the public sector are women. Further, it’s women who are in the forefront in the remittances and garment sectors, the first and second largest foreign exchange (FX) earning industries respectively, he told Parliament.
Additionally, it’s women who are once more in the forefront of the tea industry, it’s traditional FX earner, he said. Also, whether they are those students sitting for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary or Advanced Level Examinations or whether they are undergraduates in universities, or teachers, the majority of them are females, he said.
Therefore, considering the contribution made to the economy by women, the Government, as an incentive to the private sector to employ females, should guarantee the payment of maternity benefits of women employed by this sector, added Wickramaratne.