Sri Lanka

President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena, took back the move to grant women in the country right to buy alcohol. The president during a rally addressed the audience and said that he has ordered the government to withdraw the reform that could have also allowed the women to work in bars without the need of a permit.

Sirisena added that he found out about the movement only through the newspapers. On January 10, 2018, the government announced that it was amending the 1955 law and also agreed that it discriminated against women. On the other hand the critics have accused that the president that he is not taking the gender equality issue seriously.

One of the Sri Lankan blogger said, “This is not just about this archaic sexist law but the archaic sexist system in which this law is just one more tool of control”. However, the previous law was not strictly enforced and many of the Sri Lankan women had welcomed the change. The amendment would have allowed women over the age of 18 to buy alcohol legally and this would have happened for the first time in more than 60 years.

Even a ban on alcohol that is sold outside the permitted hours of 09:00 to 12:00 would have been changed to allow the sales between the time 08:00 and 22:00. However, some of the leading Buddhist majority in Sri Lanka had opposed the decision to lift the ban and argued that it would destroy the culture and that more women would be addicted to alcohol. President Sirisena added that he heard the criticisms on the government’s steps and has ordered the government to take back its announcement of lifting the ban. Sirisena has been encouraging women in the country to play a more active part in politics as well and ensured that more women would return to future elections.

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