26 August, 2019

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Prof. Maithree, Misogyny & UNP

By Jagath Asoka

Dr Jagath Asoka

I was somewhat stunned to hear that none of the frontline female politicians of the UNP  — Rosy Senanayake, Chandrani Bandara, and Hirunika Premachandra, Thalatha Athukorale — were invited to speak by the organizers at the massive public demonstration organized by the UNP at Galle Face Green recently. Is it gynophobia, misogyny, ostracism, shunning, or a combination? Who had the power and influence to change this flagrant stupidity? Ranil, Prof. Maithree, was it sincere ignorance or conscientious stupidity? So far, I have not heard any complaints from women who were at the demonstration. Here we are dealing with the “riddle of femininity”: What do women want, especially in Sri Lanka? What do I know? I am just a man who lives 14,161 km away from Colombo.

This incidence reminded me of the following: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” 

“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection…For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”

Sometimes, I wonder the veracity of the Sri Lankan saying: “ගෙදර බුදුන් අම්මා.”

Well, I am like Will Rogers: All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance. I recently read that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s wife, Prof. Maithree Wickramasinghe, intervened and cancelled a dinner organized for the UNP Parliamentary group at the Temple Trees by insisting that all MPs eat the same ‘Rice packets’ distributed to 5,000-odd supporters gathered at the Temple Trees premises. WOW! I was impressed. This story revealed her influence. She was at the forefront of some recent protests organized by the UNP supporters. 

Look at Prof. Maithree’s resume; she has over 25 years of experience in formulating gender equity and equality policies/strategies, conducting gender sensitization trainings and evaluating women’s and gender programs for local and international organizations. She has delivered keynotes and addressed plenaries at academic and professional fora in the US, Spain, Kenya, India, Pakistan, South Korea, and China. Isn’t is ironic that she did not notice what these jokers were doing to Sri Lankan women? That’s an emphatically un-empathetic response. I am not blaming Prof. Maithree, but probably she is the only person who can reprimand these jokers. I just want to know what Prof. Maithree, who is an advocate in gender equality, has to say about this recent incident: Apply the same attitude of “rice packets.’ 

There was another incident. When Sri Lanka’s president—the first Buddhist-Taliban leader in Sri Lanka—re-imposed a four-decade-long ban on women buying alcohol, just days after his finance minister had lifted the restriction, did Prof. Maithree demand gender neutrality when this alcohol ban was imposed?

Even though Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike became the first female Prime Minister in the world in modern history, when she was elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 1960, and her daughter Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga served as the fifth President of Sri Lanka, the country’s only female president to date, leadership of women in politics is abysmal. What happened to the mother and daughter of an affluent and powerful family is not the norm in Sri Lanka. So far, UNP has nothing to brag about when it comes to leadership positions: women remain invisible. Sri Lanka ranks low globally on gender equality indices. There is a low political participation of women, especially in leadership roles. Here in the USA, the largest percentage of employed women (40.6%) work in management, professional, and related occupations where as female garment factory workers comprise the largest concentration of women in the labor force of Sri Lanka. Women hold 64% of seats in the lower house of Rwanda’s national legislature, the largest share of any country. For comparison, only 23% of seats in the U.S. House are held by women (ranked 103); in Sri Lanka, only 5.8% of seats are held by women (ranked 179). Prof. Maithree, what is your plan to improve gender equity in Sri Lanka? Are there any programs in Sri Lanka to promote leadership among women? Prof. Maithree, you should probably study what Rwandans did. 

Most people inadvertently and subliminally associate misogyny—hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women—with men, something that men do to women. But that is not my personal experience. In my profession, as a medical/technical writer, over the last eighteen years, I have not yet met a male medical writer. All of them, so far, has been women. Here is the amazing thing that I have noticed: the women that I’ve worked with treat women much worse than the men do with their own male peers. As professionals, most women are extremely jealous of women. I cannot write here what women have told me about other women. I was taken aback by the vitriol.

Here is another thing that I know: there are many mothers who are not kind to their daughters and say cruel things about their daughters that would lacerate them emotionally and make many of us cringe. Sometimes, I wonder whether the women who are nasty to other women were raised by cruel mothers?

As a society, we must pay attention, understand, know, and respect the importance of Woman, the being of Woman, and the sense of Woman because only women can balance the stupid, vulgar, asinine, macho-masculine behavior of any society. Compassion, the lack of egoistic isolation, and the opening to participation are the prime female powers and virtues. 

Ranil, pay more attention to women. Your wife, Prof. Maithree, is a good example of what women can do when they are empowered by education. Also, do not forget what Pyrrhus of Epirus said about battles, wars, and victories. 

Ranil, the things Sri Lankan women whisper about you aren’t as bad as what Sri Lankan men say out loud. Well, that alone is a good enough reason to empower Sri Lankan women!

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Latest comments

  • 8
    2

    This is perhaps the most brilliantly written article to CT in the aftermath of the constitutional crisis. Congratulations, Jagath Asoka, you are a brilliant, resonant, articulate force. More power to you.
    I salute this writer.
    However I disagree that there is a significant gender disparity in medical writers in Sri Lanka.
    IN addition I also want to say that the notion that women treat women worse than men is a myth. In my experience as a doctor, post graduate student, administrator in Sri Lanka for a cumulative period of 18 years, I have observed that hiding behind the “men don’t gossip/ malign/ ” is a strong network of men in brotherhood implementing administrative, financial, procedural, systematized well executed amoral corruption. While appearing to be well composed gentlemen who are eloquent, effective leaders these men undermined, backstab, reduce, restrict women in silent understanding that it is not documented anywhere how it is done. It is done in such silent concurrence that you will never know it is happening, outwards. These evil , misogynist ways of the men in our society keeps our society in the dark ages while Ethiopia has overtaken us by decades , shining in Africa like a jewel.
    If you want to know the truth of what I say, all you have to do it to turn your neck and look at 70 years of post colonial Sri Lanka.
    Anyway, my respect and salute to this admirable writer.
    Hope the UNP take note and give women their due place under its liberal democratic leader , the Hon. PM.

    • 4
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      Dear Jagath, am afraid that these particular Butterflies are no feminists!! In fact they are an insult to butterflies and LGBTQ folks.
      While everyone is distracted with the Corrupt Cesspit Parliament and the horse trading there, the Cold War in the Indian Ocean is hotting up and Trumpland who owns and operates Bondscam Ranil has sent its Indo-Pacific Marines to set up an air logistics Hub in Trincomalee and is flying Drones in Sri Lanka to collect intelligence of the Ministry of Agriculture – part of the infamous Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Land Bank operation to asset strip Lanka. Drones have killed thousands in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      More importantly, today ethno-religious, gender and LGBTQ identity politics is being used to distract people from Bondscam Ranil’s Economic Crimes against the people of Lanka, and the looting and destruction of the most important Financial Institution – the Central Bank of Sri Lanka by Ranil, Mahendran and Penthouse Ravi K.
      Ranil Wickramasinghe who is Trumpland’s puppet must be impeached for the Bondscam at the Central Bank and the full PCOI report released. Ranil and Mahinda Jarapassa must share the same prison cell for their financial crimes and hate crimes against Lankans.

      Wake up and smell the toast!

      • 3
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        Indeed, the neoliberal identity politics project works through Weaponization of religious, ethnic, and playing gender, LGBT identity politics and uses culture-talk to Divide, Rule and loot countries.. This is an old game in the British Raj and CIA playbooks..

        This is happening in Sri Lanka right now as Trumpland’s Peace Corps bots traverse social media and Face book promoting identity divides, to distract people from the US Pacific Marine Logisitics Hub set up in Trincomalee and Drones flying over their Sri Lankan Land bank in Trump’s COLD WAR against China in the Indian Ocean, and lack of Economic Rights and Justice in Lanka, growing economic inequality, and the fact that the PM Ranil is a corrupt thief who looted the Central Bank. Trumpland’s puppet, RW works to benefit the Global 1 percent and America First with fake economic development advice from IMF and Millennium Challenge Corp that drafts his economic policy.

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 5
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    Sri Lanka do not need far left postmodernist extream feminists in their political arena. Women and men are not equal. They are biologically different beings.**triggered**

    • 1
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      Anushki ! You are CORRECT But the thing What is going on with CT ! what’s up Like we don’t know you guys……You know something about Sri Lankan Journalism…..ENGLISH SINHALA Both You people think You are SO hi in Social Ladder & Intellectually specially the Sinhala ( They can’ t realise there Buddhist extremism in Flesh-DERANA-HIRU-SIRASA) but since the NOVEMBER CUE….People turns to Social media HEavily Like CT…But now dust Settles CT is back to Good-OLD Dull DAYS of Life as USUAL…..So now CT needs a TOPIC to Mess up Screw up Sri LAnkan society to Attract Viewers….[wanna bet CT has actually lost viewers after Ranil’s rehonergeration !] So COLOMBO TELEGRAPH ‘s New TOPIC Extremist ORTHODOX Anti-MALE Feminism ! – A K A – women’s OVER Empowerment

    • 3
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      anushki
      “Women and men are not equal. “

      maybe not in physical size or strength,but where the brain power is concerned there is no scientific proof that men possess more intelligence than women.The modern world has changed and brain is more sought after than brawn and women have more opportunities to now move up the ladder,so artificial and cultural barriers should be removed so that there are no unnecessary obstacles to their upward mobility.

  • 3
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    Prof. Maithree , Let me ask you something…Search this topic ” Boys CRISIS” – WAR AGAINST MEN & BOYS…..I wonder weather Lunatic PHD’s Like you know actually what is going on…..What is the GENDER GAP in Sri Lankan UNIVERSITY…..It is alarming where Women Outnumber men……BUT according to Anti-MAle Teachings of your Feminism It is not a Problem right….Think gain The Future Society Is so Gray when in comes to Gender Disparity among men & Women You Created this Zero Sum Society where Men are Both ECONOMICALLY – Educationally weaker than Women….in the name of Women’s Empowerment you have destroyed men’s Social Image so much to the point it’s Effects Yet to be seen……To get an Idea How serious the Situation is in major EU Countries Women has stepped up to Raise the awareness of this So called “New social Trend” because it will-can destabilize society according to these women…I my self did a research on this & asked couple of Teachers about here in sri lanka Like “what do you think about BOYS UNDERPERFORMANCE IN SCHOOLS compared to GIRLS ? Guess what Thanks to Lunatic ANTI-MALE teachings you (WOMEN’s STUDIES) done they responded Stating “WE DID NOT KNOW or NOTICES IT AS AN ISSUE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT”…

  • 9
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    Dr Jagath Asoka
    If you want rice packets, you can have any amount of rice packets. Leave Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe out of this. She is not in politics. Take up the issue of non-inclusion of women speakers with the organizers of the UNP rally. While you are at it, also please check with UPFA/SLFP/SLPP why Pavithra, Sudarshani, Geetha, Malini, and other such vermin are crawling under Mahinda’s chair and licking him up. It’s an insult to women everywhere.

    • 2
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      Oh yeah? I wonder why she founded “center for gender studies” in Keleniya. These and all sorts of social studies departments have already poisoned Western feminist movement in to a man hating, violent, post structuralist, anarchist galore. What do you think she is intending to do here?

      If you need proof look in to the recent “man hating” concert in Sweden. Or Canadian bil C-16.

      Government intervention is needed to control these freaks who promote violence and tear apart social fabric which developed over for God knows how long, all under the guise of equality.

      There brand of feminism is driven by hatred and bigotry.

  • 2
    9

    Normally fmisists are unmarried, lesbian women predominantly.
    =
    Just a question in relation to feminism of married women. It is easy for a woman to be a feminist when your partner is interested in the other sex only?

  • 3
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    It’s well noted in South Eastern countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand etc women are far more and actively involved in the work places from minial to high proffesional works when compared to Sri Lanka. In Malaysia there are lot of wemon work as taxi, bus, truck and train drivers, even construction workers and run businesses etc like wise in many other trade and professions. SL being a wemon majority country, why we are not encouraging wemon to take up more of the jobs that men do, and contribute more for their lives and the country. Since the country is heading for a massive labour shortage, this pool of untapped labour is a big advantage for all.

    • 0
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      silva

      then who will cook?Sri lankan men are a spoiled bunch who want freshly cooked food every day.However much i tell them you can cook for three to 4 days and keep in fridge and just warm in the microwave and eat it,they will not listen.There is not much difference in taste and having lived in a western country for more than thirty years i am used to this and my woman’s time is freed up to do much more important things than cooking.She can go to work and contribute to the economy.

      ps.sri lanka is ranked about 125th out of 160 in women’s participation in workforce.

      • 0
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        sorry.It should be 107th out of 120 countries womens participation in workforce.

        • 0
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          again another mistake.sorry folks.I hate to mislead others.should be 107 out of 140.

  • 1
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    A devout person, a good technocrat, a pundit, a big talker, son of a politician , an old boy from a imperial era school, etc etc in not necessarily a good leader.

    We are very confused about the meaning of leadership. No wonder the country is in a mess.

  • 4
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    Please leave Prof. MAITHREE out of this.
    There is no relevance in bringing her up. Why should she dictate to the UNP?
    She’s not in politics but just accompanying her politician husband.

  • 4
    2

    I don’t know what went on ……… but my thoughts are,

    I believe, in the heat of the moment, it was a genuine oversight.

    These things happen. :))

    Although it should be pointed out to the organizers ……. not to make the same mistake again ………. let us not make a mountain out of molehill

    I wish Lankan elite showed the same interest in murders and serial-killings ……… by the political hierarchy

    Or are they only keen to take on “fashionable” causes? :))

  • 0
    2

    Some Lankan media (for example CT of 19 December) pointed out ~ “No Female Speaker Allowed To Speak At UNP’s “Largest Political Rally In 25 Years”
    Dr Jagath Asoka calls this ‘conscientious stupidity’ and ‘riddle of femininity’. He them poses the emotive question ~ “Is it gynophobia, misogyny, ostracism, shunning, or a combination?”.
    Yes, there is a case for UNP to provide an answer and we hope they will.
    .
    As to why females are under represented in governance the world over is worthy of research. To the best of our knowledge even seminal work is not available.
    .
    It is no coincidence that the violence in parliament wells, the world over, are by male lawmakers. Lanka is no exception.
    .
    Time to address the under representation of females in every human endeavour.
    For example, to name a few: When will we have a female Mahanayake or Pope?
    Hindu Priests are all not only males they from a certain caste.
    How about the male only ACJU and the infamous MMDA1950?

  • 1
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    Prof. Asoka

    Have you ever thought that Prof. Maithree may be above the gutter politics of SL. The female politicians you have mentioned are ambitious women who have exploited their connections for personal gain. Whether or not the gender card should be played is a political strategy. There are decent, educated, females who are happy not to get smeared in political shit in the pretext of promoting feminism or representing the trodden women.

  • 1
    4

    How can a woman with a heart be a UNPer?

    Soma

  • 1
    0

    For heaven’ sake, keep the well-bred, decent, learned Maithree R out of our politics.
    Ranil has chosen well. She is one of the very few in our public political landscape of whom our people – of any Party – can be justly proud of. God forbid that she may never be tempted to enter the snake pit of our governance.

    R. Varathan

  • 0
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    most women are extremely jealous of women.//

    Hillary clinton lost because she was a woman or all did not vote

  • 0
    0

    I cant believe with all the progress we have done so far in the past 58 days you are complaining about female representation in the rally. We see well powerful male figures such as eran wickremaratna, ranga bandara, ranjan ramanayaka nkt making speeches…

    So please i believe in merit based promotion not gender or race based promotion,

    I didnt know social justice warriors were a thing in sri lanka now.

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