Enhancing Rural Women Empowerment in Sri Lanka


  • B. V. N. Wijewardhana Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • M. M. M. Dias Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka




Economic empowerment of rural women is a critical component and a shared goal in all societies. Moreover, it is fundamental to the sustainable socio-economic development of entire countries in the overall process of realizing gender equality. This paper explores how orthodox ideas on women's economic empowerment have changed with the availability of social and economic resources for women. Four indicators have been accompanied as supplement autonomy as capabilities, access to resources, securities, and decision making in shaping empowerment. The study adopted the descriptive design as quantitative and qualitative research methods by considering 200 married women 18-55 in Divisional Secretariats in Monaragala and Ampara districts reported where poverty rates are 25% and 28%, respectively. Data were gathered through focused group discussions, questionnaires, interviews, case studies, and observations. An equal number of employed and un-employed married women in each rural context were selected as the sample. Data were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively.
The study identified several barriers that affect women’s economic empowerment at the national level based on the data analysis. These barriers are the lack of decision-making power in family matters, attending extended educational needs, unattainable promotions of jobs, a lack of a compassionate working environment, and an increased risk of un-infectious diseases. It was possible to determine that there is no effective and optimistic mechanism to deal with such complexities. Much of the narrative focuses on instrumental gains on what women can do for development rather than what development can do for women manifested through the study.

Keywords: Empower, Family Bonds, Married Women, Resources, Rurality