The Struggle for Equal Political Representation of Women in Sri Lanka
A Stocktaking Report for the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment and UNDP
(Published in October 2009)
In 1931 Sri Lanka became one of the first countries in South Asia to give women the right to vote. In the post independence period, Sri Lankan women also made rapid progress in relation to health, education and employment. Today, Sri Lanka’s human development indicators for women are considered a model for South Asia. Yet, political participation and representation of women in political institutions have remained stagnant in the 60 years since Sri Lanka achieved independence.
This study commissioned by the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment and UNDP has sought to briefly trace the history of women’s representation politics, map the work that has been done by women’s organizations and the National Institutions for Women in order to increase women’s participation and representation in political institutions in Sri Lanka, and finally propose recommendations for future activism.