Women’s activists demand Mahinda apologise to Jalani over remark over childless women
ECONOMYNEXT – A group of activists staged a demonstration against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today protesting remarks made by him allegedly insulting childless women, particularly Jalani Premadasa.
The protest was held outside the PM’s office in Colombo.
In a campaign speech Rajapaksa said “he (the Samagi Jana Balavegaya leader Sajith Premadasa) talks about pressing a button to summon the Midwife, of course he won’t need it…” in the audience someone says “he does not have children,” and the PM responds saying “hush, don’t say that.”
Women’s groups were outraged that the PM, a former President, had made fun of women who could not or chose not to have children.
In a letter handed over to the Prime Minister, they said politicians should respect the reproductive rights of men and women.
“It is a personal choice,” the letter said saying these remarks were that of a “male chauvinist.”
The letter was signed “Women & Men of Lanka Without Children.”
The protest was attended by several SJB candidates including former MP Hirunika Premachandra who demanded that Rajapaksa apologise to Jalani Premadasa.
The SJB also made much of it. At an event organised by its Women’s wing, the stage performance had an item where Neela Wickremesinghe’s famous lament of a childless mother was sung, in honour of Jalani, bringing a tear to her eyes.
The Prime Minister was in Badulla on the campaign trail and his office did not respond to the letter. (Colombo, July 24, 2020)