Call for women’s commission to continue | Sunday Observer

Call for women’s commission to continue

13 March, 2022

Despite a female population of nearly 56 percent and around 52 percent eligible to vote, women are left to pick up the crumbs falling from male-dominating tables, said Advisor to the People’s Commission for Women in Sri Lanka,  Lalith Abeysinghe at a forum to mark World International Women’s Day at the Mahaweli Centre on March 8.

The forum comprised women  representing a cross-section of society urging lawmakers to  set up a commission for women in Sri Lanka.

It is disheartening that the country does not have a commission for women even after 74 years of Independence.

Women who account for around 52 percent of the voter base have received peanuts from the rulers they elected.

What women had received in return was unparliamentary language and inhuman treatment, Abeysinghe said.

According to statistics women work about 66 hours per week but have access to less than 10 percent of the resources and 1 percent of the land globally.

Rohini Weerasinghe of the movement for the People’s Commission for Women in Sri Lanka said over 2.4 million women in Sri Lanka are trapped by certain micro credit lenders who have turned out to be ‘loan sharks’ compelling around 270 hapless women to commit suicide.

The Sri Lankan economy rests on the informal sector which comprises primarily women entrepreneurs whose blood, toil, tears and sweat are ignored by the male-dominated society and gender biased rulers, Weerasinghe said. The forum for a women’s commission was not convened or led by political parties or commercial entities but by women for marginalised women.

Rev. Sr. Christine Fernando of the Movement for People’s Commission for Women in Sri Lanka,  said the appalling state of migrant women, women in free trade zones, estates and women who have been left high and low dry without the spouse or children whose lives had been snuffed out by the war.

The love and care of a woman would make a happy family and a society that respects each other, Sr. Fernando said adding that the silent cry of women who are under the jackboot of men be it in the family, work-place or society go unheeded.

P. Devi, a tea pluck in Nuwara Eliya and a mother of two, said the daily wage is hardly enough to feed the family as prices of food had skyrocketed and the rupee had no value.

“Our daily wage has not been revised according to the rising cost of living and as a result estate workers in woeful state today,” she said.

The demand for Rs. 1,000 daily wage  no longer holds ground as the purchasing power of low income earners has dropped drastically owing to the sharp escalation of commodity prices in recent times.

The struggle for the setting of a commission, a place for women to express their grievances will go on conveners of the forum said.