Empowered women of apparel industry powering a nation to prosperity


With over 350,000 women under its wing, Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is a primary contributor to the country’s economy. Taking over the baton from traditional commodity exports, the rapid development of the country’s textile and apparel industry has resulted in transforming Sri Lanka into an international force to reckon with.

Empowering this industry and ensuring its local and global success is its female workforce. In order to recognize these champions and their contribution to the economy, the Joint Apparel Association Forum Sri Lanka (JAAFSL) launched the ‘Matai Mage Ratatai’ campaign, with the objective of making a positive difference to the lives of the industry’s majority female associates.

Recording significant growth, Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is one of the leading contributors to the local economy. Supplying major export markets including the US, the UK, Italy, Germany, Canada and Australia, apparel exports contribute 59% to the country’s total exports industry.

In addition, from among manufactured products exported overseas, apparel exports make up 45% of the total export turnover of US$ 11.3bn. Apparel has evolved from a traditionally low-wage industry, to providing sophisticated solutions for local and global markets.

Leveraging local talent and creativity in design, R&D and innovation, the apparel industry was recognized as the top exporting industry in Sri Lanka with a US$ 5 billion annual income in 2018.