Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday that his administration will create safer working conditions for women as women’s participation in the labour market had remained low in recent years.

In an economic policy statement delivered at the parliament, Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka had a low percentage of women in the labour market compared to other countries in the region.

The present women labour force participation rate is less than half of that of males, lingering around 30 percent to 35 percent since the 1990s.

“This participation is not enough to sustain the high growth momentum of the economy,” Wickremesinghe said.

He added that his administration would take steps to improve the public transport systems enabling women to travel comfortably to their workplaces.

“We are introducing the Light Rail Transit (LRT) with this purpose. This will greatly ease the current passenger congestion and provide a convenient and a safe mode of transport,” the prime minister said.

The government will also draft new laws to strengthen the maternity benefits for employed women while access to tertiary and vocational education facilities will be improved.

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