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Digital platforms and women’s work in Sri Lanka and India

There has been a rapid increase in the number of digital work options available to women. While some options are almost exclusively used by men, others, such as craft and creative marketplaces like Etsy, are dominated by women. Across these options, there are a variety of practices demanding different trade-offs between time and money from workers, leading to an emerging ecosystem of digital work. At the same time, the characteristics of working age women have become more heterogeneous in terms of skill, education, conditions for labour force participation, and engagements with digital platforms.

This project will assess the ecosystem within which women are engaging with digital work and how online platforms can contribute to women’s economic empowerment. The findings will inform updated labour market regulation and business practices.

With a focus on India and Sri Lanka, the project will explore a number of key questions, including how women leverage digital platforms to improve their livelihoods or to socially empower themselves; whether apps are being designed to attract women (as users or providers); and how women view digital opportunities. It will create a common understanding of the ecosystem across business, policy, and civil society by consulting with digital platforms, civil society, and policymakers. The evidence is expected to lead to better business practices, improved public policy and civil society responses, and an ecosystem that is more inclusive for women.

Project ID
Project Status
30 months
IDRC Officer
Arjan De Haan
Total Funding
CA$ 369,100.00
Sri Lanka
Sustainable Inclusive Economies
Employment and Growth
Institution Country
Sri Lanka
Project Leader
Helani Galpaya