To work or not to work? Factors holding women back from market work in Sri Lanka

This study looks at the extent to which differences in individual and household characteristics are associated with whether women in Sri Lanka work for pay or not.

The study finds important differences in the factors that enable or constrain women from participating in the labour market. The econometric analysis confirms the importance of better education for female labour force participation. The critical stage in the education cycle for participation is secondary education, beyond which the likelihood of participation rises. In terms of policy, the findings suggest that investment in skills training beyond secondary education is critical. The empirical results also highlight the importance of cultural and household-based constraints, particularly to married women’s participation in the work force.