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Ruminations after Colombo Pride: Why Queer Interest Litigation is Public Interest Litigation

Photo courtesy SALGBT Network Part I Exactly a month ago from today, the US Supreme Court’s holding, in Obergefell v. Hodges, seemed to give cause for celebration to many individuals, most of whom expressed solidarity through their profile picture on Facebook. Newsfeeds were abuzz with reports of how “gay marriage” had been legalised in America. […]

Gang rape and murder of a school girl

Image courtesy News First The recent gang rape  and murder of a school girl in Jaffna has, within the few days, triggered many public reports in newspapers and elsewhere, raised many issues including the Code of Professional Practice for journalism; national reconciliation; the death penalty; public demonstrations in Jaffna and Colombo; judicial reforms in relation […]

The rape and murder of Vidya: Do women really matter in Sri Lanka?

Editors note: Original image was taken from Icarus Wept. Rather than the issues noted in the article, or the incident of rape, many initial comments focussed on the use of the photo. Histrionics of the “I am right so you must be wrong camp” aside, over email and calls, more informed and reasoned requests were made […]

Rape and domestic violence in Sri Lanka: Triggered by a mind-set?

Image courtesy Beyond Borders Water runs through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. The same could be said about changing a nation’s mind-set.  “A culture that propagates violence against women and children is not a culture, it is a nightmare we still need to wake up from,” said Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, […]

Thoughts count

Photo from Wired At almost two years of age I attempted to write my own story, when I ran out of words I tried to draw. It wasn’t a worthless effort however because as I was always told “It’s the thought that counts.” At the age of four on Mothers’ Day I tried to make […]

A Short Note on the Historical Legacy of International Women’s Day

Introduction In the West, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Its theme for 2015 is ‘Make It Happen’ with a dedicated hashtag for social media. “Empowering […]

Where are our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested and disappeared?

Image courtesy Today ### To His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Respected President, In the journey towards good governance where are our loved ones who have been abducted, arrested, and disappeared? The 3 decades of war in our country affected all communities, irrespective of ethnicity and religion and […]

Maithripala Sirisena’s Victory: Winning the Hearts of Women

Photo courtesy The Hindu As the campaigning for both candidates has ended, and the celebrations for the victory of Maithripala Sirisena have begun, larger battles are still being waged, and will be still more important now that the elections are over. The elections held yesterday represent something much greater than a face-off between two personalities, […]

Do we enjoy universal adult Franchise?

Image courtesy SBS We did enjoy full adult voting rights in our island for 18 years after the far reaching Donoughmore reforms of 1931 (reaching further than many of our leaders, Sinhalese Tamil and Muslim asked for or even wanted). But two Acts of 1949, among the earliest post-independence legislation, took away citizenship and voting […]

Ensure and protect the rights of people who survived the landslide

Image courtesy Colombo Gazette Memorandum to the Ministry of Disaster Management  Ensure and protect the rights of people, especially women and children, who survived the landslide which occurred in the Haldumulla DS area on 29th October 2014 As the Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management, Batticaloa, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the people […]

The Role of Women in Countering Extremism

Speech delivered at Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations on October 27th, 2014 I want to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for taking this important initiative to have debate and discussion on one of the most pressing issues of our times. I have been invited in my capacity as lead author […]

The Legacy of A New Woman in Our Generation: Sunila Abeysekara (1952-2013)

Photo courtesy New York Times ‘Her discourse, even when ‘theoretical’ or political, is never simple or linear or ‘objectivized’, universalized; she involves her story in history’. – Helene Cixous and Catherine Clement, The Newly Born Woman, 1986. My first meeting with Sunila Abeysekara was unforgettable. It was July 1976 and I was being held at Slave Island […]

“Where are the Sri Lankan Female Scientists?” A Case of Democratizing Science

Photo by Reuters, courtesy International Business Times In recent decades, many researchers, education specialists and policy advocates have paid increasing attention to the issue of gender bias in science. While several successful attempts have been made to increase female participation in science, a dearth of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields still […]