In recent years, the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace has become increasingly recognized worldwide. As a result, organizations are prioritizing efforts to create more equitable workplaces for their employees. In Sri Lanka, several organizations have also committed to building such workplaces for their employees. While significant progress has been made, there remains room for growth.
To that end, Diversity Collective Lanka (DCLK) has spearheaded several initiatives to guide Sri Lankan corporates to build working cultures inclusive to all employees. Most recently, DCLK in honor of International Women’s Day brought together experts in the fields of respectful workplaces, sexual harassment, gendered organizations, and work-family conflict to discuss the challenges faced by Sri Lankan Women and shed light on best practices that organizations can embark on to address systemic discrimination faced by women and why it is imperative to embed equitable principles in organizational policies, procedures, and practices.
Why Should Organizations Prioritize Equity in the Workplace?
It’s a question that has several clear answers. At the top of the list is that it fosters a more positive and productive work environment. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to better performance and outcomes for the organization. Further, ignoring it can have serious economic consequences as well. Ultimately, creating an equitable workplace is simply the right thing to do. Employees should be given an equal opportunity to succeed and feel safe and respected in their workplace. When organizations prioritize equity, they promote fairness, respect, and inclusion, which benefits their employees, customers, and stakeholders.
The Experts and Their Research
At DCLK’s #EmbraceEquity event, the attending experts shared their insights on various topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. The spotlight was on three prominent academics from the University of Colombo speaking about globally recognized papers they published on gender equality. These academics were Prof. Arosha S. Adikaram, Dr. Seuwandhi Ranasinghe, and Prof. Pavithra Kailasapathy.
Throughout the event, Gayani Ranasinghe facilitated a discussion among these experts, who shared with the audiences global best practices and offered a way forward for Sri Lankan corporates to build inclusive workplaces. The panel emphasized the need for organizations to proactively address these issues and create a more inclusive work culture. The panel also explored various other topics, including the femininity penalty, handling sexual harassment complaints in Sri Lanka, and the impact of technology on work-life boundaries.
Moving forward Diversity Collective Lanka’s vision is to incorporate the insights gained from the event into future training and consultancy for Sri Lankan corporates. The organization hopes to help companies build sustainable solutions for DEI and create more equitable and inclusive work cultures. Overall, it was an important step forward in addressing the need for more equitable workplaces in Sri Lanka. The insights gained from the discussion emphasized the importance of creating positive, respectful, and inclusive work cultures that benefit everyone. By prioritizing DEI efforts, organizations can foster a more productive and engaged workforce, while also promoting fairness and respect for all employees.