The Women and Media Collective (WMC) together with 23 Women’s organisations expressed their concern to the President, Prime Minister and the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government on the reported negotiations to reformulate the enacted 25% quota for women in Local Authorities.
In order to ensure that the current provision of a 25% quota of seats for women in the Local Authorities Elections Amendment Act No. 1 of 2016 remains unchanged WMC and members women’s rights organizations met with the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Mr. Faizser Musthapha on the 10th of August 2017 to discuss the importance of the women’s quota and its need for implementation.
Sumika Perera from the Women’s Resource Center, Kurunegala, Chandrika de Soysa, SLFP, Inthumathy Hariharathamotharan from Viluthu, Viola Perera, Action Network for Migrant Workers and Tharanga de Silva, WMC attended this meeting.
Women’s groups were also part of the discussions on the 01st of August, with the Chairperson of the Elections Commissions, Mahinda Deshapriya to secure the 25% quota allocation for local government bodies. Parliamentarian Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle and Deputy Chair of the Women’s Caucus were also part of the meeting. Kumudini Samuel, Dr. Sepali Kottegoda, Viola Perara and Tharanga de Silva from WMC, Subha Wijesiriwardane, Internews, Harshani, Chandrika de Soysa of the SLFP and Inthumathy Hariharathamotharan from Viluthu represented local women’s groups.
The 25% quota, amended into the Local Authorities Election Act last year, will increase the number of women in local government from the current figure of 90 (2%) to over 2000 (25%). It will bring women who are very active in many community based organizations at village level into active political engagement which will help ensure a more democratic political culture of governance at the lowest level of political institutions.