Sri Lanka Drafts Bill Ensuring Women’s Representation

Sri Lankan Women’s Affairs Minister Hema Ratnayake said that the People’s Alliance government will pass legislation that requires a minimum of 25 percent representation for women in all elected groups. Although Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister are both women, historian Lorna Dewarajah noted that most of the area’s female politicians were either wives or daughters of popular officials.

Yasmin Tambiah, a researcher at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), said that the quota should be short-term and should include “gender sensitive training” and public education of women’s importance by both political parties and government. “These actions will enable women from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds to consider entering politics, rather than limiting such activity to women from political families,” said Tambiah.


One World/IPS - March 20, 1998

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