About the Project
Working from Home (WFH) became mandatory for many during the pandemic. Confronted with the fear of getting infected and the risk of losing jobs, WFH became the lifesaver. However, the experiences of working women and men, on how well the new normal was received distinctively, is still up for discussion and debate. This controversy may be largely attributed to gendered patterns endorsed in social structures, at work and at home. Shifting to WFH clearly dissolved the boundaries between work and home, which often used to be mutually exclusive. Research suggests that decades of feminist progress ricocheted against pandemic induced WFH, feeding into discriminatory traditional gender norms and thereby placing women in a more exploitable position. In such a milieu, this research aims to voice in retrospect and comprehend the stories of those women and men in the IT sector in Sri Lanka; an under-developing country, where traditional social and cultural norms are strongly upheld.
Why IT Professionals?
The IT related service industry is an increasingly important sector for the Sri Lankan economy. In 2021, SLASSCOM projected the industry to achieve USD 5 Billion in exports within the next few years; making it pertinent to study the dynamics involved in this expanding service industry.
The IT industry is largely a male-dominated arena. In Sri Lanka it is said that gender equity has progressively improved, the figures say that female participation in the IT industry is still at an average of 37% in 2018 (SLASSCOM,2019/20).
During the lockdowns, work demands have been more intense for those in IT given the higher compatibility of IT work to be done at home. Thereby it calls for more attention to study the experiences women and men in IT.
Project Aims and Outcomes
- Understand the gendered nature of the IT profession in Sri Lanka.
- Understand the IT professionals’ perceptions of working-from-home experience during the pandemic.
- Explore how gender disadvantage operates among IT professionals working from home during the pandemic.
- Explore the gendered nature of the impact of working-from-home on work life balance and well-being as experienced differently by male and female IT professionals during the pandemic.
- Make recommendations for policymakers, managers, and practitioners facilitating gender equality, employee well-being, and work-life balance in the case of IT professionals.