Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka celebrates International Women’s Day by inspiring women to #Break the Bias

Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. (CCBSL) celebrated International Women’s Day 2022, with multiple events designed to celebrate and empower the women of Sri Lanka. The first event was held in-house and included a variety of activities including a practical session on ‘Breaking the Bias’ by Shamal Gunawardena – Director Sales and Commercial of CCBSL and a special address by Mayank Arora – Managing Director of CCBSL.

Both sessions addressed the importance of seeing beyond gender stereotypes and emphasized that both men and women have equal capabilities, and that no one should restrict themselves to any field of work based on their gender. The importance of sharing responsibilities on all occasions, including in the household was also highlighted, as an equal share of the burden allows everyone irrespective of gender to thrive, especially at work. The sessions also underlined the importance of diversity & inclusivity in the workplace and the efforts put in by CCBSL to ensure that voices of women in the workforce are heard and their concerns addressed, to enable a conducive environment in which they can prosper.

The highlight of the International Women’s Day 2022 celebrations was an insightful panel discussion, with eminent female personalities, who have embodied the ‘Break the Bias’ concept in Sri Lanka. The panel included Ms. Aruni Goonetilleke – Chairperson – Hatton National Bank PLC, SSP Ms. Ranasinghe – Director – The Bureau for the Abuse of Children & Women and Ms. Elizabeth Perera – Coca-Cola Distributor for 40+ years. Each member of the panel had vastly different backgrounds and life experiences. They each spoke about the biases they have encountered in their careers and how they overcame them while balancing their family life as well.

Ms. Aruni Goonetilleke shared her experiences during her climb to the very top of the corporate ladder. She explained how people perceived a female leader and how she was able to keep herself motivated to achieve her goals. Meanwhile, Ms. Ranasinghe and Ms. Elizabeth Perera shared their experiences of what are considered non-traditional careers for women.

Mr. Priyantha Ranasinghe, Director, Human Resources of CCBSL commented on the celebrations, “It was wonderful to see the entire company unite to empower, inspire and celebrate women on International Women’s Day. I would like to thank our esteemed panel for sharing their inspiring stories and experiences in breaking barriers and reaching the pinnacle of their careers and expressing the importance of promoting equality and work life balance, it was truly the highlight of the day.”

Empowering Female Entrepreneurs in the local community

Along with the inhouse celebrations, CCBSL partnered key government stakeholders in its locality in Biyagama to conduct an initiative to uplift 30 female entrepreneurs in celebration of International Women’s Day 2022. The event featured a training session on Banking & Financial Management by Mr. Sampath Kumara, Executive Officer, Commercial Bank Sri Lanka, and a motivation session by Ms. Tilani Jayasinghe, the owner of Sashee Looms, a small-scale business.

This session was followed by an overview of how SME entrepreneurs can gain support in conducting their business operations from relevant Government Offices by Mr. Rohana Karunaratne – Development Officer – Biyagama Divisional Secretariat.

Ms. Chandima Suriyarachchi, the Biyagama Divisional Secretary addressed the gathering and extended a vote of thanks to CCBSL for supporting women in the local community to mark International Women’s Day 2022. She said, “It is fantastic that organisations like Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka step up to empower women in our local communities and encourage them to break the bias, especially on International Women’s Day. The guest speakers at the event were truly inspiring and provided great insights and practical tips for all in attendance during their sessions. We are fortunate to have CCBSL in Biyagama and I would like to thank and commend them on their efforts to celebrate and empower women in Sri Lanka and I hope to see more events like this in the future.”

Creating awareness of PET plastic collection and recycling for females in Weligama.

CCBSL also came together with long-term end-to-end recycling partner Eco Spindles and local community organisation ‘Sobhakantha’, to organise a beach clean-up, in Weligama. The aim of the event was to create awareness amongst 100+ females in the area on the value of PET plastic and the entrepreneurial opportunities available in plastic collection and recycling.  Representatives from local authorities in Weligama, including the Officer in Charge of Women’s Affairs, the Divisional Secretary, the Samurdhi Development Officer, and the Regional Manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority were present at the event and commended CCBSL on their efforts to both empower female entrepreneurs and create awareness about the value of PET plastic, and responsible disposal of PET.


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