Sri Lanka commits to update national action plan, and sustain firm commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment (updated)

Since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, Sri Lanka’s steps to achieve gender equality have comprised reforms to domestic laws and the integration of gender-related priorities into government action plans. It is currently updating a national action plan on women and has a dedicated ministry on women’s matters.

It intends to take the promotion and protection of the rights of women very seriously, remaining firm in a commitment to strive continuously and with diligence to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Speaking at the Global Leaders’ Meeting on 27 September 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena said: “My Government and I take the responsibility of ensuring [the] promotion and protection of the rights of women in my country very seriously and we remain firm in our commitment to strive continuously with diligence to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.” [ Speech ]

Developments since Sri Lanka’s commitment

The Sri Lankan Government is currently in the process of drafting a new Constitution, aiming to include women’s rights in the Fundamental Rights Chapter.

Government policies are currently being formulated on violence against women, and the capacity-building of police and the judiciary in this regard. Six new shelters have been set up in various locations for the protection of survivors of violence. A digital database system has also been developed for the collection of gender-based violence data with support from the police and other stakeholders.

The National Framework for Women-headed Households (2017–2019) has been introduced, especially to improve the socio-economic situation of women affected by conflict. Programmes are in place to support the economic empowerment of rural women and encourage girls to enter technological fields to improve employment opportunities.

For promoting women’s political participation, a 25 per cent quota has been allocated for women in local government bodies, while Cabinet approval is being sought to provide 30 per cent nominations for females at the Provincial Council elections. [ Full update ]