January 17th, 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka: In order to ensure the most representative institutions and processes of our democracy, the participation of women in decision -making positions has to be considerably enhanced. This asymmetric situation has led to the introduction of the Quota System to ensure greater female representation in politics. In line with this global practice, Sri Lanka has given considerable attention to increasing the number of female representatives in the political process and has targeted the up-coming Local Government Election. Amendment No. 22/2012 (Mixed Member Representative System) and Amendment No. 01/2016 (25% Women’s Quota) to the Local Government Election Act of 1946, are significant in this respect. These two Amendments will greatly facilitate greater female representation.
However, public awareness with regard to what this entails is low. As such, the Local Governance Unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has conducted 39 District Discussions/Dialogues in 13 districts covering the Southern, Uva, Eastern and Northern Provinces of Sri Lanka, with considerable support from the District Secretaries and the Women Development Officers (WDOs) attached to the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, in each of the respective districts. More than 2000 participants attended these discussions/dialogues.
Further, identifying the need to educate local women, CPA will be conducting an Awareness and a Signature Campaign covering the above mentioned four provinces, with effect from today – the 17th of January until the 03rd of February 2017, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils.
Expected Outcome: To increase the awareness of the General Public, especially of women, about the proposed Election System. Ending Cronyism – Supporting the courage, capacity and the willingness of local women to actively engage in politics and in local government authorities, in particular and to propagate a culture of governance.