Crucial to develop strategies and mechanisms for implementation of women’s issues: Eran

Monday, 6 March 2017 01:08 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • EU Head of Political, Trade and Communications in Sri Lanka spells out European Union’s support on gender issues
  • UNDP outlines how advocacy and technical assistance is provided
  • Jayanthi Kuru-Uthumpaala felicitated, makes motivational speech
  • Major membership drive from Gampaha District takes precedence at WFSL Group interim event

Public Enterprise Development Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne last week said developing strategies and mechanisms was crucial for effective implementation of women’s issues and emphasised the need for greater priority to be given to improving gender parity and women’s representation in decision-making at all levels of governance. 

Wickramaratne said that there was not enough being done to improve implementation, particularly in relation to donor funds. He said that as a legislator and policymaker it was important to raise gender issues in Parliament that needed to be urgently addressed and highlighted the importance of the Parliament’s Sectoral Oversight Committee for Women. 

“Gender discrimination prevails in workplaces and communities, including in labour force participation,” he said, adding that he believed in and was committed to a just and equal society and believed that gender discrimination could not exist in such an environment.  

The Deputy Minister was addressing the interim event of WOMEN’S FORUM Sri Lanka (WFSL), which was held recently and saw a major membership drive get underway as a prelude to the WFSL’s  main event, scheduled to be held on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day, in keeping with the international  theme for 2017 of ‘Be bold for change’ .

Wickremaratne highlighted the success of WFSL’s action plan, launched at the inaugural event last year, and commended the effective measures being adopted for the prevention of harassment of women and girls in public transport and spreading the work island-wide. He pledged his continued support in their endeavours to promote gender equality and work toward the elimination of gender-based violence. 

He further opined that adopting a quota system which has been approved to enable more women to enter local Government bodies at the Provincial, District and Pradeshiya levels was a step in the right direction to attain gender equality in governance, and commended the WFSL’s initiative of an awareness campaign on this subject that was afoot. 


From left: Chief Guest Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, EU delegation in SL- Paul Godfrey Counsellor/Head of Political, Trade and Communications Section, Bimali spoke of the UNDP offer of technical assistance and Sonaly Dayaratna spoke on the UNDP’s gender action guidance and advocacy



WFSL’s key group members Dr. Hiranthi Wijemana  and Charnika Imbulana spoke on the progress made with the WFSL Action Plan on violence against women, Sakina cordinated for The Kingsbury, Compere Nathalia            


Women from the government sector and Tourism Ministry joined WFSL


25 women leaders from the Gampaha District enlisted with the WFSL       




Jayanthi Uthumpaala and her teammate Yohan Pieris felicitated by Yvette Kahawite of the WFSL           


The WFSL key group of the event, Charnika Imbulana, Yvette Kahawite, Dr. Hiranthi Wijemana, Dr. Pramila Senanayaka, President Mahila Samiti and Thilaka Perera with Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratna in the centre.

Counsellor/Head of Political, Trade and Communications Section of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Paul Godfrey was the Guest of Honour at the event. He spoke about the work of the European Union on gender issues and on ‘EU support for women’s political participation in Sri Lanka’.

UNDP Policy Specialist Sonali Dayaratne, UNDP Technical Coordinator at the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs Bimali Ameresekere and Program Analyst and UNDP Gender Focal Point Nimmi Ariyaratne outlined separate areas of the UNDP’s work on gender issues that included promoting awareness about the importance of mainstreaming gender into all stages of development planning as well as providing technical assistance to support Sri Lanka achieve SDG 5: Gender Equality. 

Another area of support of the UNDP’s was to increase women’s political representation. A brief overview of the UNDP’s current work in the area of empowering women was given by UNDP representatives, with a view to share information and find potential synergies. 

Another important part of the WFSL is that it recognises and felicitates high achievers. Jayanthi Uthumpaala, who became the first Sri Lankan to climb to the summit of Mount Everest, was thus felicitated by WFSL’s key group member Yvette Kahawite. She was invited to speak about her journey to the top of the summit.

As per the schedule spelt out by the Founder and Convener Charnika Imbulana at the inauguration of the WFSL held on International Women’s day last year, the membership drive got underway with the registration of 25 female leaders from the Gampaha District with the WFSL at this interim event, held in the garden of the residence of the WFSL Founder and Convener Charnika Imbulana at Bauddhaloka Mawatha Colombo 7 and co- hosted by The Kingsbury Hotel. 

The team was led by long-time women’s rights activist in the district Kanchana Adipattu, who also functions as the focal point of the WFSL in the Gampaha District.

Adipattu organised a meeting titled ‘Diri Saru’ for 1,300 women at the Thewatte Basilica Hall in Ragama, which drew the attendance of Anne Ameratunge as Chief Guest and Guests of Honour WFSL founder Convenor Charnika Imbulana, former Parliamentarian Sujatha Jayewardena and Pastor Jayamane of the Thewaththe, Basilica, Cathedral in promotion of the economic empowerment of women, by facilitating Sampath Bank to provide loans for self- employment purposes. 

Adipattu has now embarked on a program to lobby support for the supply of sewing machines in a joint project with WFSL. WFSL is composed of professional women from diverse disciplines who have banded together for the cause of women’s empowerment and is directed by the slogan ‘Where the rhetoric has stopped and action has begun’. 

The WFSL will mark International Women’s Day 2017 on the internationally celebrated theme of ‘Be bold for change’ on 8 March at The Kingsbury Hotel, which also happens to be the date of the WFSL group’s first anniversary. 

Tickets for the event, which also include WFSL registration with Kingsbury’s high tea, are priced at Rs. 1,000 per person. WFSL calls on all registered WFSL group members to participate. New registration will also take place on the day of the event at 4.30 p.m.