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Saturday April 20th, 2024

Advocata panel finds many barriers for women to enter politics

ECONOMYNEXT – A panel discussion hosted by the think tank Advocata has highlighted myriad issues that prevent more women from entering politics in Sri Lanka, a statement from the organisation said.

The discussion identified key factors that prevent women from entering politics.

The first, they found was “pedigree” politics or the promotion of family members at the cost of other qualified party members.

Another crucial barrier was the sheer cost of campaigns.

“We believe that there needs to be a level playing field as skyrocketing campaigning costs deprive competent and hardworking women the opportunity to enter parliament,” the panel found.

Enacting a campaign finance laws and introducing reforms that will bring in much-needed transparency into the process was seen as essential.

The panellists felt that there is an urgent need to bring in a mandatory quota of women into Provincial Councils as well as Parliament.

Among other recommendations were; encouraging women to obtain a varied education, empowering female leadership in our communities, and introducing a mandatory quota for women in the National list for major political parties.

The discussion took place in the background of the World Gender Gap Report published by the World Economic Forum which ranked Sri Lanka amongst the top 20 countries in 2006.

Since then Sri Lanka has drastically slipped in the rankings and has descended to be ranked 102 out of 153 countries in the year 2020 despite performing well on other indicators such as health and education, the release said.

Given the myriad of issues Sri Lankan women face; ranging from discriminatory laws, taxes that disproportionately affect women, and labour laws that impede their entry and retention in the labour force, it is all the more important that women are represented in parliament.

The panellists for the discussion were Dr Sujata Gamage (Advisor to the Advocata Institute), Vraie Cally Balthazaar (Social Entrepreneur, Activist, Media Professional), Lihini Fernando (Member of Moratuwa Municipal Council, Attorney at Law, Women’s Activist) and Sherien Perera (Marketer, Corporate Trainer). The session was moderated by Sathya Karunarathne (Research Executive (Policy) Advocata Institute).

(Colombo September 9, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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Sri Lanka discussing giving extra land, water for Chinese oil refinery

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is in discussions with China’s Sinopec to give extra land and assure water supplies after the company decided to expand the capacity of a planned oil refinery in Hambantota, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“There are concerns on how the water supply is going to be provided for the refinery,” Minister Wijesekera told reporters Friday.

The refinery will need more land and also revise conditions in a Board of Investment agreement, he said.

Read more
Sinopec to double capacity of new refinery in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota

Recommendations and decisions from Sri Lanka’s side had already been sent and Sinopec is expected to revert back in May.

“We are hoping to sign the agreement once everyone has agreed,” Wijesekara said.

The principle agreements are expected to be signed by June, he said.

The refinery could sell up to 10 percent of its output in the domestic market.

“There is no commitment by the government to purchase anything,” Minister Wijesekera said. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes weaker at 302.00/50 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 302.00/50 to the US dollar in the spot forex market on Friday, down from 301.50/302.00 a day earlier, dealers said.

There was increased demand for dollars after the central bank bought 715 million dollars from forex markets. In the previous two months it was buying on average about 200 million US dollars, leaving market participants and bank in a ‘oversold’ position.

There were some official dollars sales Friday dealers said.

READ Sri Lanka rupee quoted wide to US dollar as peg inconsistencies flare up

Bond yields were broadly steady.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 11.30/40 percent down from 11.35/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.95/12.05 percent up from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2028 closed stable at 12.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed stable at 12.30/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 12.40/50 percent. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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Sri Lanka stocks close down, banks trade down

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Friday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.38 percent, or 44.80 points, at 11,753; while the S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.53 percent, or 18.46 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was at 1.4 billion. The diversified financials (Rs366mn) and banks (Rs266mn) sectors continued to see selling pressure.

“This was possibly due to uncertainty around the bond discussions,” market participants said.

With the exception of Sampath Bank Plc (up at 77.50) all other banks traded down in the day. Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc was down at 104.50, Hatton National Bank Plc was down at 188.50, and DFCC Bank Plc was down at 77.00.

LOLC Finance Plc saw the most trades and closed up at 6.40. Another LOLC company, Browns Investments Plc, also saw high traded volumes and closed up at 5.60.

Softlogic Capital Plc was up at 7.00, and Softlogic Holdings Plc was up at 11.20. A trading suspension imposed on SHL.N0000 was lifted effective today as the company submitted the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2023.

However, shares of the Company will remain in the Watch List “due to Qualified Audit Opinion and Emphasis of matter on going concern in the Independent Auditor’s Report in the Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st March 2022.”

Dialog Axiata Plc, which announced its merger with Bharti Airtel Thursday, saw its share price close up at 11.90.

“There was some traction on index heavyweights,” market participants pointed out.

Top contributors to the APSI included Aitken Spence Plc (up at 134.50), Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc (up at 1,245.25, and Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc (up at 1,048.50).

There was a net foreign inflow of 5 million. (Colombo/Apr19/2024)

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