*Pioneering empowerment of women political activists * Promoting women’s Leadership in Sri Lankan History (Her+ Story)
Women's Leadership Development for Local Governance
16th August at Matugama
"The struggle to get the opportunity is over. Women have to now come forward
to get involved in political leadership and engage in politics " - Dr Nimalka Fernando
Director, Women's Political Academy at the leadership training workshop held in Matugama
covering several constituencies in the Kalutara districts.
Imadr Ac conducting a program- increase women's representation in politics
2017September 06 Colombo, Sri Lanka ·
Local Governance and Women’s Political Participation in South Asia:
Expanding Space and Enhancing Equal Rights and Justice
South Asian Women’s Convergence 2017 - 6th -7th August
Kathmandu – Nepal
WPA-SL Leadership meets on the 10th June 2017 at the Havlock Road, Colombo.* Strengthen campaign for 25% .
A workshop on improving capacity of women leaders in politics in Sri Lanka
IMADR AC conducted one day workshop at Kalutara (at Garden’s Beach Hotel, Kaluthara) on 15th August 2016 with the participation of 154 women leaders in the Province.
Hon. Mrs Anoma Gamege (Chairperson of Lakvanitha Women’s Group) made the welcome speech while Hon. Ajith Perera (Deputy minister of Power and Renewable Energy) made a speech outlining new government’s vision on improving women’s participation in politics in Sri Lanka. Dr Nimalka Fernando (Executive Director – IMADR AC) gave the key note speech of the workshop by detailing out the challenges faced by women in Sri Lanka in attempting to enter and remain in politics at local to national level. Additional Election Commissioner of Sri Lanka, Mr M.M.Mohammed, gave the guest speech of the event and in his speech he explained the new law related to Local Government Act and the 25 quote system for women at local government level nomination and election. Subsequent to these speeches, there was a useful discussion session with high level of interaction so that women leaders were able to get first-hand information about many issues they had on contesting in upcoming local government election in Sri Lanka.
Our district level partners, members of Women Political Academy, and partner organizations participated in the meeting. Mr Andrea Calvaruso of United Nations Democracy Fund facilitated the programme. The focus of the meeting was to revisit our programmes during last one and half year and our way forward in the future taking into consideration of contemporary socio political challenges faced by women political leaders at local government level in Sri Lanka.
The IMADR AC joined hands with over 200 women from the Nothern Province to celebrate together the Sinhala and Hindu New year with a colourful event held in Kilinochchi on the 23rd April. About 25 members of the Women Political Academy (WPA) also took part in the event to show their solidarity with the war affected women and their courageous efforts towards ethnic reconciliation. Members of the WPA are local women politicians and political aspirants who are getting ready for upcoming the Local Government Election.
IMADR AC organised a capacity building and awareness raising workshop on the newly passed Local Government Law on the 02nd April 2016 in Narammala, Kurunegala. This workshop is one of series of workshops held across the country on developing capacity of women leaders and women political aspirants/ elected members to encourage them to participate and represent as elected politicians in their constituencies. Around 30 women leaders, women local government (former) elected members, and women political aspirants participated in the Narammala workshop.
National Stakeholders’ Advocacy meeting – “Increase Women’s Representation in Politics” . The event was held at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall on 2nd Sept 2015. The
Chief Guest was former UN Rapporteur on VAW, Dr Radhika Coomaraswamy. She is now a member of the Constitutional Council – Sri Lanka.
Let Us establish a democraticrule without the fear of terror, abuse or corruption and establish a society that protects women. Give us your vote (workshop at Moneragala – General Election 2015)
pictuers – naline
If, as Abraham Lincoln once said, democracy is “government of the people, by the people, for the people” women should be equal partners in making democracy. The promise of de facto democracy for women cannot be fulfilled by law and philosophy alone. It requires transforming the commitment to equality into concrete political realities which will secure women’s capacity to participate as coequal actors in the public and political sphere. This capacity is the meaning of democratic citizenship for women and it is an essential precondition for viable democratic citizenship for men and women alike.
To this effect, IMADR-AC supported to launch a campaign calling on political parties to recognize the need to introduce special measures aimed at increasing women’s representation in political institutions and government. This campaign was in response to contemporary challenges encountered by women activists in relation to gaining equal rights to representation at all levels. Posters, leaflets, and brochures were produced and advocacy campaigns were conducted in this regard. The activity assisted in consolidating the WPA-SL network.
In 2010, on International Women’s Day, a national campaign was launched in collaboration with partners and other networks on the theme “protect media freedom, enhance democracy and increase women’s participation in politics.” The main event was held in Colombo at J.R Jayawardena Center. This event was attended by an array of representatives from civil society, trade unions, political parties, wives of disappeared, women’s organizations, religious leaders and NGO activists. At this event, the women’s manifesto, which highlights pressing the demand for equal rights for women in the social, economic and political spheres, was launched.
This women’s manifesto was specially designed for female candidates contesting the forthcoming local government elections.
This manifesto emphasizes that democracy means full and equal political citizenship for all. The campaign called for commitment from all political leaders at the highest levels to ensure women’s full and equal participation in democratic processes. The manifesto was handed over to representatives of political parties who were present at the event.
The programme concluded with a public event. A procession led by women marched towards the Lipton circle, Colombo to make the demands more visible. Women from all walks of life joined in the streets to raise their voices for democracy and for equal rights in politics and citizenship. As a result, women political activists gained media space during the election period.
The Manifesto was revised in 2015 during the Presidential Election in consultation with members of various women’s forums at the district level and members of Local Government institutions who are active members of the WPA-SL.
The document was forwarded to the Presidential candidates. Women’s Assembly and Women’s Political Manifesto:Presidential Election 2015
In 2011, WPA-SL celebrated the International Women’s Day. Together with the oldest women’s network of Mothers and Daughters of Lanka, the Law and Society Trust and the National Peace Council participated in the campaign. The theme of the National Campaign of 2011 was “Protect Women’s Human Rights, Demand Equal Rights, and 30 percent Political Representation.” Three hundred participants, including candidates of all political parties contesting Local Government Institutions, joined this campaign. The common poster produced by WPA-SL for the local government election campaign was launched and distributed to candidates and CBOs on this day.
The motto of WPASL is “Knowledge is Leadership.” As Plato succinctly put it “knowledge is virtue.”. Knowledge has become a very important and powerful tool for women who desire, aspire, yearn and commit themselves to be engaged in politics and governance. Because women in governance and political leadership have limited access to resources, training and exposure that are crucial for gaining further knowledge and information, WPASL conducted a series of capacity building workshops.
The WPASL capacity building series contributed towards enhancing women’s leadership in the areas of effective intervention, representation, negotiation and articulation for women’s equality, democracy and minority rights. Mostly, this realm of capacity building activities broadened the horizons for women in political parties, trade unions, community based organizations and civil society leadership roles.
The first series of national training programmes focused on capacity-building and awareness-raising for women leaders and on the political activities of partner organizations, networks and their counterpart members. The objectives of this action were to develop a team of campaigners for the promotion of affirmative action for women’s participation in politics. The training programmes also aimed at providing advance level orientation, consolidation and strengthening of partner organizations and women’s networks that were previously involved in community level awareness-raising interaction on women's issues and women's participation in politics. These efforts have contributed to the formation of a sustainability plan and a district support base for WPASL. The participants in the national level training programmes acted as resource persons for provincial level training and capacity building.
Six workshops have been held in the districts of Colombo (3), Jaffna, Kandy, and Batticaloa in 2010. These capacity building events saw more than 200 participants from diverse backgrounds come together to share experiences, challenges and good practices in enhancing women’s leadership in governance in Sri Lanka. Participants learnt networking, social mobilization, orientation for advocacy, and lobbying for gender equality by interlinking the rights-based approach with CEDAW, UNSCR, 1325 and CERD which promotes the rights of minorities.