Women seek a quarter of Cabinet posts

The Women and Media Collective, a group of women’s rights activists presented a manifesto to candidates at the upcoming Presidential elections today (17), on behalf of all women in Sri Lanka.

A key demand in the manifesto is at least 25 per cent women representation in the Cabinet and all other government policymaking institutions.

Addressing the media at the Renuka Hotel in Colombo this morning, Oct 17, Programme Director of the Women and Media Collective Kumudini Samuel said that the manifesto includes demands that are unique to women as well as demands that need to be addressed for the betterment of all citizens.

“Since the year 2005, we have been presenting a charter of demands to the elected government. We are ready to present our manifesto to all candidates running for the presidential election irrespective of their political party. During the last four years, we attained to have 25 per cent of women representation in provincial institutions from a special quota for the first time in Sri Lanka,” Samuel said.

“We submit a request to ensure that the number of Cabinet Ministers do not exceed 20 and that women comprise at least twenty-five per cent of Cabinet,” Samuel said.

She went on to say that they want to introduce mandatory legal provisions to ensure that all registered political parties have at least 25 per cent women in their key decision-making structures. “Therefore, we request all women to vote for a candidate who will respect democracy and ensure women’s rights,” Samuel added.

Commenting further, Samuel pointed out the need for government’s involvement in ensuring gender equality, female migrant workers’ rights and changing gender stereotypes.

“We request that laws and policies which ensure gender equality should be brought forth. The Government must take steps to minimize violence against women. We also urge the state to monitor and regulate organizations that provide microfinance as many women depend on microfinance,” Samuel added.

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