- Setting the stage for the year of the Sri Lankan woman
20 December saw a historic movement for Women In Management (WIM), with the launch of their first Women Top 50 Inspirational Calendar, naming 2022 the “Women Year” in Sri Lanka. The Women Top 50 Calendar features women who have gone on to be trailblazers and leaders in their various fields. The launch was held under the patronage of State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics, and Covid-19 Disease Control Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle. Senior DIG Ajith Rohana, and WIM Founder and Chairman Dr. Sulochana Sigera were also present at the occasion.
The 12 months of 2022 are dedicated to 12 Sri Lankan women who have won the World Bank’s Top 50 Award, who have risen to the top in the corporate, political, social, and business fields. Each woman is featured with an inspirational quote celebrating courage.
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Segera said that the Women Top 50 Calendar is about sharing the stories of inspirational women and sharing the story of life, adding that she hopes the calendar will inspire other women to also excel in management. “It’s not only about being the first but making sure other women can sit on the same chair as us after us.”
The women featured in the Women Top 50 Calendar come from all sectors of industry, from shipping and logistics to tourism, to media, to fashion and retail, and importantly, women in politics, with Dr. Segera, noting that while women in management are encouraged to succeed, women entering politics are often discouraged at all levels, and women in politics often face severe harassment from other politicians, the general public, and the media.
“These are 12 women who have made a difference to society,” Segera said, speaking about the women featured in the Women Top 50 Calendar, adding: “And we want to see how we change 2022 in Sri Lanka. We’ve never put women in management positions in a calendar before. After 8 March (International Women’s Day), everyone tends to forget about women, but now, with the calendar, through the year we have the chance to talk about women.”
The proceeds of the Top 50 Calendar go towards, one of WIM’s newest and, in the current context, most impactful projects – the WIM Free Kitchen Project, a project that was announced in January 2021 by Dr. Segera and was launched in March to coincide with International Women’s Day. The WIM Free Kitchen feeds those in need once a week, providing food packs for those who are too poor or are unable to feed themselves. Since March, Dr. Segera shared that the WIM Free Kitchen has fed over 7,000 people.
Sadly, Dr. Segera noted that many of the people who are fed by the WIM Free Kitchen are elderly who have been abandoned by their children in these turbulent times, a troubling and very heartbreaking sign for a culture that places so much value on respecting elders.
Chief Guest State Minister Dr. Fernandopulle, addressed the gathering, sharing her happiness and good wishes, and noting that this calendar projects women as competent leaders as opposed to commercial objects and recognises that the women in this calendar have climbed to the tops of their careers with a lot of obstacles. Dr. Fernandopulle also shared her hope that the calendar would go on to inspire more women to aspire to leadership positions and give greater engagement among women in politics and government.
Jetwing Travels Chairman and Managing Director Shiromal Cooray, McLarens Group Group Executive Director Shehara De Silva, Moratuwa Municipal Council Council Member Lihini Fernando, who were each featured in the Top 50 Calendar, also addressed the gathering sharing messages of empowerment and encouragement.
The Top 50 Calendar is available for purchase online through WIM’s platforms. For more information, please visit www.womeninmanagement.org.