Tea pickers in Sri Lanka

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka
2014. Women picking tea, Nuvara Eliya (Sri Lanka) © (AEEH)

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka

Tea —brought to Sri Lanka by the British— is one of the main sources of income in the country. Picking is done by women, who usually work piecework for long days at altitudes of around 2,000 metres. Most workers in the region belong to families whose women are specialised in this task and are part of the limited female labour force (30%) of the country compared to the male workforce (75.6%). Plastic bags have replaced the traditional baskets for picking, which were made of vegetable fibre.

Only18% of the population is urban. The gender inequality index is average in the global ranking (0.386), better than other Southeast Asian countries, as it has better figures in terms of reproductive health and secondary education, although not in parliamentary representation or female workforce.