Obstacles and Approaches to Gender Equality in Sri Lanka

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Paul Ventura


This study utilizes the Longwe’s Women’s Empowerment Framework (Longwe, 1999) to evaluate the socio-cultural, legal and political obstacles, and then compares the various approaches to attaining gender equality in Sri Lanka. To conduct this inquiry in July and August of 2007, I interviewed professionals, NGO Directors, project coordinators, academic researchers, women’s rights experts, feminists, members of the National Committee on Women, and the General Secretary to the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Development.

The inquiry revealed few legal and no political obstacles to gender equality. However, the prominent obstacles found in these frameworks originate from socio-cultural obstacles that have roots in a patriarchal social construct which was introduced and reinforced from colonial times onwards. The various NGOs, social forums, committees and government bureaus employ a multitude of original and innovative methods as well as universal applications laid out in the UN Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Platform to address inequality both nationally and locally. The practical applicability of this inquiry can serve as an external evaluation of the Sri Lankan drive for gender equality.


Sociology of Culture | Women's Studies

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