Jaffna’s Women Take a Trishaw Ride To Financial Independence


DushiYanthini Kanagasabapathipillai in Jaffna, North of Sri Lanka

Women are workers and contribute to the national economy

All over South Asia, more and more women are becoming breadwinners, although their contribution is still hardly publicly recognised. Despite the fact that they work as hard as men, they also continue to be paid less.

Take Sri Lanka. Women comprise 50.8 per cent of the country’s total population of 21.3 million and have been part of the workforce for decades. They have worked extremely hard and have made many sacrifices. Today, they continue to contribute to the national economy, which accounts for 52 per cent of Sri Lanka’s exports. There are women working in traditional sectors, like in the tea and rubber plantations, and in non-traditional sectors like garments and domestic work, according to the Shadow Report prepared by the Centre for Women’s Research in 2001. Continue reading

Public Perceptions of the LLRC in Trincomalee


27 Aug, 2012 by 

President Mahinda Rajapaksha appointed the Lessons learnt and Reconciliation commission in May 2010 and after 18 months of sittings, the commission submitted its report to the President in November 2011. The report is not only about the effects of war but also about the need to depoliticize state institutions and foster good governance. However, at the time of writing, the report is not yet accessible in Sinhala or Tamil, even though it was reported in the media that Sri Lanka’s Central Bank had commissioned the translations. As Kishali Jayawardena argued, many commissions of inquiry in Sri Lanka have been political exercises rather than genuine attempts to reconcile a traumatized nation.[i] Continue reading

Strengthening a common struggle across ethnicities

At first look, the sight of darkly unsmiling men with a few women scattered among them, gathered together in a dilapidated school hall of an impoverished village deep in the dusty interior of the East of Sri Lanka is both formidable and unsettling.

A litany of questions

The tense translator whispered that this was, at one time, a favourite recruiting area for the LTTE regional leaders who had preyed on the poverty stricken Tamil youth of this village. Long before the war ended and even before the Eastern split occurred in the movement, these villagers had realized the futility as well as the brutality of the tactics adopted by their ‘liberators’. Those who were able to do so had fled back to the village. Others had perished, either at the hands of the LTTE itself or by government forces. Now, those who remained continued to be neglected, pushed out of the way by the tourism centered development drive centered on beachfront properties and the bustling towns of the main travel routes. Continue reading

Do Women play a role in Sri Lanka’s ‘Reconciliation’?: Gender dynamics in the transition from war to peace



In order to understand the ‘role’ of women in such a vital process of social transition, we have to understand the place of women in our society – their position, their status, their condition.  This conference is being held at a time when the country is shaken by a spike in reports of sexual violence against women and girls in the South of the country. Over the past few years there has been a phenomenal rise in civilian acts of violence specifically against women:-

  • Incidents of ‘grease yakkas’ that sexually terrorised women were reported from right across the country, including the supposedly heavily controlled North and East;
  • Half-burnt bodies of raped and battered and murdered women are being found mostly in one district alone, Ratnapura;
  • Adolescent girls are being raped allegedly by persons who have been elected into governing office in Tangalla and Akuressa in the Southern Province;
  • Girls as young as 6 or 7 years are being raped and murdered in Colombo in the Western Province. Continue reading