UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men and the third gender as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

All human development and human rights issues involve gender dimensions. UN Women globally focuses on key priority areas that are fundamental to women’s equality, and that can unlock progress across the board. The six priority areas include increasing women’s leadership and participation in political spaces, ending violence against women, enhancing women’s economic empowerment, engaging in all aspects of women peace and security processes, making gender equality central to national planning and budgeting through Gender Responsive Budgeting and advancing gender in intergovernmental processes.

Sri Lanka has experienced significant level of economic growth in recent years which has been accompanied by lower unemployment rates. Historically, from 2003 until 2013, the Sri Lankan growth rate averaged 6.5% and the unemployment rate was less than 7% as an average during the reference period. However, the female labour force participation (FLPF) in Sri Lanka has not changed considerably in recent decades and has stagnated at a rate around 30% to 35% of working age women. Furthermore, the male labour force participation is twice that of the rate for women – in the second quarter of 2016, FLFP was 35.9% as against 74.9% for males. In the context of Sri Lanka’s ageing population coupled with a work force that is predicted to shrink beyond 2026, there is a need to engage a greater number of the country’s working age population, in particular women, in the labour force to achieve economic growth and sustain any development strategy.

Low FLFP is an important marker of gender inequality.  Despite higher education attainment, women do not get an equal share in the labour force and this is a missed opportunity. Data also suggests that women are more likely than men to be unemployed, underemployed, or be out of the formal labour force. Women’s participation in agriculture sector is high but agriculture sector is featured as 90% informal. Moreover, the popular acceptance of women is not as farmers but as farm-hands. This prevents women from getting access to credit, technology, information and markets. Women are also unpaid family workers in the agriculture sector.

The Global Gender Gap Index notes that the gap in economic participation is the most pronounced gender gap for Sri Lanka. Scores for indices to measure education attainment and economic participation indicate that Sri Lanka has not been successful in translating high educational gains for women in secondary and tertiary education into enhanced economic participation opportunities. This is corroborated by research which reveals that Sri Lanka has the 14th largest gender gap in labour force participation globally.

Most of the existing research on the low FLFP in Sri Lanka has examined the issue from a supply point of view. However, it is very important to understand the demand-side factors associated with low female participation in the effort to increase women’s participation. Therefore, understanding private sector employers’ views/perspectives in employing women is necessary to address the issue of low female labour force participation in Sri Lanka.

In this context, UN Women Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations has undertaken a national study to collect firm level data to assess factors affecting the demand for female labour in the country. The objectives of the study are to examine the attitudes of firms towards recruiting female workers; provide an in-depth analysis of firm and individual level reasons affecting the demand for labour; and identify means of improving the demand for female workers. Phase 1 – collecting primary firm-level data – has been completed.

Duties and Responsibilities

UN Women is seeking the services of a Consultant to review/clean the collected data, conduct data analysis, and prepare a final report on the issues affecting the demand for female workers:

  • Produce a template for the report structure in consultation with UN Women;
  • Review, clean (if necessary) and conduct quantitative data analysis of the primary firm-level data collected;
  • Present initial findings to UN Women for discussion and contextualisation;
  • Draft report on demand-side factors affecting FLFP in Sri Lanka, inclusive of bibliography, annexures and data visualization;
  • Incorporate feedback from UN Women and finalise the report;
  • Prepare a briefing paper synthesising key findings and recommendations for policy makers and stakeholders;
  • Provide input on dissemination/launch of the study;
  • Facilitate a session presenting key findings and recommendations at the launch of the study.

Note: Quantitative data for the report has already been collected. The consultant will not be asked to collect quantitative data, only to analyse existing data and produce a report based on their analysis.

Expected Deliverables:

  • Workplan with specific timeline, methodology and report structure (developed in consultation with UN Women) -  Two weeks following the signing of the contract – 20% payment.
  • Final report on demand-side factors affecting FLFP in Sri Lanka, incorporating any feedback and comments from UN Women – 50% payment.
  • Final brief synthesising key findings and recommendations – 20% payment.
  • Power-point presentation of the key findings and recommendations – 10% payment.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates commitment to UN Women’s mission, vision and values;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Functional Competencies:

Knowledge Management and Learning:

  • Shares knowledge and experience;
  • Actively works towards continuing personal learning, acts on learning plan and applies newly acquired skills.

Development and Operational Effectiveness:

  • Ability to perform a variety of specialized tasks related to design, planning and implementation of programme, managing data, reporting;
  • Ability to provide input to and use new IT based systems.

Leadership and Self-Management:

  • Focuses on result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Remains calm, in control even under pressure;
  • Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities;
  • Good understanding of gender and development in South Asia;
  • Demonstrable ability to work in a team;
  • Ability to work under pressure;
  • Good writing and communication skills;
  • Excellent computer literacy and skills.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum Master’s Degree or equivalent in statistics, labour studies, economics, social sciences or related area of study.


  • Minimum 5 years of relevant experience related to women’s economic participation, particularly women’s labour force participation.
  • Demonstrated research and quantitative analytical skills. Previous experience in conducting labour-related research is an added advantage.
  • Previous experience in analytical research report writing and editing, with excellent writing, presentation and documentation skills (in English).
  • Strong knowledge of data review, analysis and synthesis, inclusive of knowledge of statistical software (such as SPSS, STATA, MOBENZI, etc).
  • Advanced skills with MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access (or similar tools) is strongly preferred.


  • Excellent command of English (spoken and written); spoken Sinhala/Tamil.

Application Process:

Interested applicants should apply to this announcement through UNDP jobs site:

Interested individual consultants must submit the following documents/information to demonstrate their qualifications in one single PDF document:

  • All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded;
  • Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment, please combine all your documents into one (1) single PDF document. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment;
  • Applications received after the close date will not be accepted;
  • Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Evaluation and Selection Criteria:

Criteria for shortlisting of CVs will be based on the following assessment:

  • Required degree and qualification (5 points);
  • Experience in quantitative data analysis and report writing relevant to the assignment (10 points);
  • Experience of working in women’s empowerment related projects, particularly promoting women’s labour force participation (5 points);
  • Experience in the usage of statistical software applications. (5 points).

The evaluation process for selection of the candidate will be based on the following assessment:

  • Written Sample (60 points);
  • Interview (40 points).


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment.