Author: Swarna Jayaweera
Editor: Swarna Jayaweera
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0761995048
Sri Lanka achieved political independence in 1948. During the fifty years that have elapsed since then, the country has made considerable strides in various spheres. Adopting a gender perspective, this volume discusses the impact on women of the social, political and economic developments which have occurred these eventful decades.
On the face of it, the country's record on gender issues has been remarkable: women have occupied and continue to occupy positions in the highest echelons of political power; the country ranks high on the list of developing nations in terms of its social indicators; and both men and women have enjoyed the franchise since much before 1948. However, a closer examination reveals that, despite all this, gender issues continue to be largely ignored in policy making and in important sectors of national development.
Bringing together activists and scholars, this important book thoughtfully reviews the different paths Sri Lankan women have taken to achieve greater political and economic empowerment and control over this lives. The book is divided into two parts. In the first, a group of distinguished experts focus on various spheres where women are affected, including law and human rights; the impact of the continuing ethnic conflict and violence; education and employment; health and population; changes in social and intrafamilial structures; and the emergence of women's organizations. Together, these six chapters, preceded by an introduction which contextualises these issues, provide a comprehensive picture of the achievements and failures with regard to women in Sri Lanka over the last five decades.
The second part of the book presents the voices of Sri Lankan women themselves. Comprising interviews with women from different socio-economic strata and those who have experienced first-hand the effects of political upheaval and violence, these life stories add a valuable dimension to this volume by bringing alive the macro issues that are discussed in the first part.
With its thought-provoking and insightful discussion of a wide variety of gender-specific issues, this volume is bound to attract activists and scholars in the fields of gender studies, politics, development studies, history and sociology.
List of Tables
Foreword by Dr Noeleen Heyzer
1. Fifty Years since Political Independence: An Overview
2. Constitution, Governance and Laws
3. Violence, Armed Conflict and the Community
4. Women in Education and Employment
5. Women's health, Population and Quality of Life
6. The Family: Continuity and Change
WIMALA DE SILVA
7. The Contigent Politics of the Women's Movement in Sri Lanka after Independence
KUMARI JAYAWARDENA and MALATHI DE ALWIS
1. Continuity and Change
2. Trapped in Poverty
3. The Trauma of Violence
4. Conclusions: Women's Experiences
Many Threads, Different Paths
About the Editor and Contributors