”70% of Tamil Women don’t know to write or read” says World Bank

Northern Province 70% of women don’t write Lack of reading, writing and numeracy skills affect female employment in N&E

BY Paneetha Ameresekere

Women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces have poorer self reported writing skills, the World Bank (WB), in a recent report, said.

“We see that much more women in the Northern and Eastern Provinces (70 and 65 per cent respectively) report to have never used writing skills in the previous 12 months, compared to 42 and 55 per cent of women in the Western Province (WP) and other Provinces, respectively,” it said. Although this percentage is also the same for men in the Eastern Province (EP), writing skills are often critical in many occupations and not having these skills may be an automatic barrier for entry into these occupations, for a large percentage of women in the N&E Provinces, the report said.

“Though we see similar geographic differences in writing skills for men, the differences are not as stark as they are for women,” the WB said.

The WB further said, the EP has the highest percentage of women that report never using reading skills.

Women in the EP in this situation, is reported at 47 per cent, whereas in the North it is a low of 30 per cent and in the WP still lower at 27 per cent, while in the rest of the country it is at 32 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the NE Provinces, 13 and 17 per cent of women respectively report to have never used numeracy skills in the previous 12 months compared with 14 per cent in the rest of the country.

Taken together, a lack of reading, writing, and numeracy skills may be hurting the employment possibilities of women in the N&E Provinces, it said.