Women’s political activism is underestimated by insecure politicians

Women’s political activism became more active in the country around 1919 with the island-wide movement for women’s suffrage. Even though it has been more or less the opportunity to contest elections since then, getting nominations for women activists is still not an easy task. The forthcoming Provincial Council election will certainly be a challenging occasion. If given a chance, there are a large number of women political activists who aspire to contest elections.

This issue was also discussed extensively during a series of training programs for women political activists organized by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in collaboration with IRI and this short video contains the views expressed by R.Iresha Udeni Hettihewa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) who participated in this Uva Provincial Workshop.

Identifying Women Political Activists

Various activists and civil society organizations in the country have, for a long time, been calling for specific recognition for women’s political activism. The 25% quota for women, established for local government bodies, was a significant milestone. Although it confirmed only 23.5% female representation at the end of the election, it was a hallmark of Sri Lanka’s future women’s political representation. The most interesting trend in that process was the emergence of a strong women’s force of 1926 compared to only 88 female members in local government bodies before the quota system.

One way to further reinforce the future political activism of women is to give them an appropriate and sufficient understanding of the procedures of the institutional system and the laws on local governance. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will continue to support them in this regard. This short video has been prepared with the views of female local government representatives who participated in a series of programs conducted in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI).