Parliament’s Representation of Women: A Selective Review of Sri Lanka’s Hansards from 2005-2014

This book launched on the 30th of January 2016, provides a ‘thick description’ of the references made to women in Parliament. In this regard, it is different to other attempts at quantifying Parliamentary discourses around image1women1, adopting instead a qualitative approach. While recognizing the value of quantitative research, the aim of this volume is to unpack and understand the ideological underpinnings of discourses surrounding the understanding of and engagement with the woman-citizen. Through its findings this study also calls for a transformation of Parliamentary talk on women. As such, the texts it reads and the approach it takes exemplifies its objectives.

The period selected for analysis – 2005 to 2014 – could be characterized in general as having a stable and well-established government headed by HE President Mahinda Rajapakse. The decade was also a time during which the government introduced and implemented its political and economic policies, ended the three-decade war, and introduced development plans for post-war Sri Lanka. Different chapters in this book deal with different time periods within this general time frame, depending on their specific focus. However, the general period covered by the chapters provides the opportunity to examine and comment on systematic interventions made by a government within the overview of their political ideology. As such it permits a general comment not only on women and women’s issues but also on sustained political ideology driving such viewpoints.

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Launching of Parliament’s Representation of Women at the Taj Samudra on the 30th of January 2015.