Labour and Management in Development, Vol 13 (2012)

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Inclusion and Empowerment of Export Processing Zone Women in Sri Lanka: Stakeholders Perceptions and Perspectives

Peter Hancock, Indika Edirisinghe


The vast majority of research on women who work in Export Processing Zones (EPZs) and in Sri Lanka focuses on the ‘lived experiences’ of the women themselves. The other major source of research with a similar focus comes from macro-economic perspectives, focusing on policy and economic rationale behind the emergence of EPZs and global export-oriented manufacturing in general. This paper provides insights into the issues of empowerment and inclusion of Sri Lankan EPZ workers, but does so from the perspective of 22 stakeholders in Sri Lanka who have unique insights to offer. The stakeholders were factory managers; senior public administrators; senior union representatives and women’s NGO representatives. In so doing the paper provides a unique insight into the issues faced by young women who work in EPZs. It also points to areas where empowerment and inclusion of women is occurring and areas where it is not.

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