Women's International Shipping & Trading Association

“We can all truly #EmbraceEquity”- WISTA Sri Lanka Celebrates International Women’s Day 2023

March 27, 2023

Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Sri Lanka concluded yet another successful event held at Kingsbury Hotel to celebrate Women’s Day 2023 with an insightful panel discussion followed by networking and cocktails.

WISTA Sri Lanka President Diruni Chanmugam addressing the gathering, highlighted the importance of Organizations taking initiatives with equality in mind with an aim of fostering equity at all levels in the maritime Industry. She also emphasized the positive strides taken on improving gender parity over the years in the Maritime and Logistics Sectors.

Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Mr. Keith Bernard along with an elite list of invitees, WISTA Members and other participants from a diverse range of industries attended the event.

The panel discussion themed “We can all truly #EmbraceEquity” with a challenging and thought-provoking session was moderated by Ms. Aruni Wijepala who is an Executive Committee Member of WISTA and is the Deputy General Manager of Hayleys Energy Services Lanka Private Limited. An eminent panel consisting of Ms. Nafeesa Moloobhoy, Managing Director A.S Moloobhoy Private Limited in India, Mr. Nalin Karunaratne, CEO of Ceylon Biscuits Limited, Ms. Kshanika Ratnayake CEO of Great Place to Work Institute Sri Lanka, Ms. Samanthi Kariyawasam, Director Finance at  Heineken Lanka Limited  shared their success stories on how they were able to bring in equality and gender empowerment in their respective workplaces.

Ms. Nafeesa Moloobhoy travelled all the way from India to share her success story on building a business, navigating work, managing challenges in raising a family breaking all the gender barriers in a mail dominated industry was truly inspirational to the audience. Mr. Nalin Karunaratne speaking at the event shared the great strides made by Ceylon Biscuits Limited in empowering women in the rural sector to become entrepreneurs beating all odds. Mrs. Kshanika Ratnayake shared great insights based on the many surveys carried out on best workplaces for women in Sri Lanka and highlighted some of the best practices adapted by such Institutions paving the way for women to thrive and build better careers. Miss Samanthi Kariyawasam shared her inspiring story on challenges she faced and breaking all the myths and prejudices working in a beer manufacturing Company.

A highlight of the event was presenting highlights of a study on “Mind the gender gap in transport and logistics” made by Professor Lalith Edirisinghe on a Project in partnership with ESCAP of the United Nations.

The event was well-supported by SAGT as the Corporate Partner of WISTA, endorsed by Sri Lanka Ports Authority along with the sponsors Prudential Shipping Lines Pvt Limited as the Platinum Sponsor,  CH Robinson as the Gold Sponsor; Advantis Marine and Energy Cluster, Colombo Logistics World Private Limited and Dankotuwa Porcelain Plc. who were the Silver Sponsors, CL Synergy Private Limited, GFS Lanka Private Ltd and IAS Holdings Private Limited who provided the Bronze Sponsorship & Daily FT as the exclusive media sponsor.

WISTA Sri Lanka has been able to carry out many such successful events in the past in keeping with its objectives of raising the profile of women in the maritime sector and working for gender balance in an industry still male dominated.   WISTA as an association has worked tirelessly over the years to encourage women to take up careers in Shipping & Logistics whilst sharing knowledge, building skills and competencies as early as School entry level, creating forums for aspiring women to network, and be inspired.

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