8 August, 2020


Women With ‘Shameless Bodies’ & Sri Lankan Presidential Election Saga

By Anushka Kahandagama –

Anushka Kahandagama

Sri Lanka ranked 80 among 160 countries in gender inequality, in the 2017 Human Development Index, doing way better than our neighbors. While the numbers are promising, the Presidential election campaign so far proves otherwise. The 26-inch longer list, 35 presidential candidates, which increased the duration of casting a vote  from one hour only have one female candidate.[1] Among the presidential candidates are two Buddhist monks, four people from the country’s minority Muslim community, and two from the Tamil community.[2]While minority communities have 6 candidates, there is one female candidate[3] while the female percentage is 51%[4] In the country’s population. If gender equality is high in the country, the political participation of the females should be in accordance. Unfortunately, there is only one female candidate who is contesting for the presidential election. What prevents women from being politically active is in the question. The answers are not far from the site but can be seen in the presidential election campaign itself.

On 7th of October 2019 the UNP parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra experienced harassment and obstruction. She was hooted at when she went to the Election Secretariat, in solidarity with UNP nominee, by the SLPP[5] supporters.[6] She is a woman who is already elected as a Parliamentarian and in that sense a person who possess power in the society in many levels. However, if a woman like her has to face this type of harassment for the sole reason of being a woman, is there any space for women in Sri Lankan politics or policy making spaces. Women are being thrown away by highly patriarchal mechanisms. The incident did not stop there but ended up in social media with many vulgar comments on the speech made by her after the incident. She was slut-shamed. It is ironic that the numbers who reacted to her speech outweigh that of the people who reacted to the harassment she faced. Unfortunately, vulgar comments she received is not only from men, but also from women and all are participating in the patriarchal social structure.

Ironically, the SLPP manifesto states ‘Sexual and Gender Based Violence has increased in our country. This is experienced by women in public transport and in society in general. We will create a society that respects women, and aspires to the highest moral and ethical standards to protect girls and women’[7]. The party manifesto being publicly violated by its own members.

Recently there was another controversy arose based on an election promise to provide women with free sanitary napkins. While I do not believe in a political ideology which is based on social welfare without answering the questions which caused gap between rich and the poor, it is unacceptable the responses by SLPP ridiculing the women’s body. This promise being ridiculed by prominent Parliamentarians who support SLPP, stating that it is an embarrassment to listen to this promise with your family. What is there to be embarrassed? The menstruation of women is a natural phenomenon that should be spoken up openly. In a society where first-period blood is celebrated with a public declaration, how is it embarrassing to publicly discuss sanitary napkins? Do we women have to be ‘ashamed’ of menstruation, or is it embarrassing for men to listen to a discussion on sanitary napkins? What kind of future generations do we raise as a country? We raise women who are ashamed of their bodies and men who think it is embarrassing to have a women’s body! These men we raise will hoot, harass, or abuse women due to the shameful bodies we possess as women.

Women who are active in any political space on the island would be discouraged by slut-shaming them and stating that they are not qualified enough. Nevertheless, what about the men who are in power? Are they qualified enough to rule a country or be the representatives for the public? Women politicians are being ridiculed publicly for the mere reason of possessing the body of a woman. What do they suggest? Do women have to participate in politics without a body?  

I have only highlighted two incidents which attracted much attention. I do not side with any of the above political parties and just wanted to make a point related to women’s position in the current political campaign. The patriarchal social-economic and political structures discourage women from participating in political spheres.

[1] http://www.colombopage.com/archive_19B/Oct29_1572367239CH.php

[2] \https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/record-35-candidates-vie-sri-lanka-presidency-191007070852381.html

[3] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/record-35-candidates-vie-sri-lanka-presidency-191007070852381.html

[4] https://tradingeconomics.com/sri-lanka/population-female-percent-of-total-wb-data.html

[5] Sri Lankan Podu Jana Peramuna (The Sri Lanka People’s Front)

[6] http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Hirunika-ends-up-on-the-wrong-side/108-175780

[7] https://gota.lk/sri-lanka-podujana-peramuna-manifesto-english.pdf

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Latest comments

  • 8

    why is there only one woman candidate?the author must delve into it and give us the reasons?Always you got to look for the root cause of a problem if you want to get rid of it permanently.

    • 9

      But that woman candidate is a very good one.
      Deserves a Preference, may be, but the First Preferences must be piled up for AKD, if we are to see changes. However, he can’t possibly win.
      Gota is a dangerous man; so vote as to ensure that he is defeated.

  • 13

    A section of Sri Lanka’s society is degenerate, debased, decadent and depraved. Furthermore, during times of heightened political activity, some folks look at most issues from coloured (i.e. blue, green, red etc.) glasses. Thus, they don’t seem to have much tolerance for another’s point of view. These attitudes may perhaps stem from examples set by some ‘Leaders’ of this Nation (one wonders why is it that the offenders are mostly from one Political Party (i.e. SLPP)? Birds of a feather flock together!

    Not sure what can be done to change these attitudes in our society other than ‘Leaders’ (both Political & Religious) coming out with unequivocal & explicit statements & declarations against such behaviour and attitudes?

    • 1

      gamini, We are the basted progeny of that thief VIJAAya, murderer, killer of his wife and two children. WHAT MORE DO YOU EXPECT.

  • 16

    Sinhale, first queen was Leelwathi or Kuweni. None of these countries first at the 160 country list did not have any thing like that. Instead they had one called “Lady godiva”.

    • 3

      Boadicea? The female pharoes? The empresses of the Byzantine empire? Artemisia (after whom a herb is named)? Dido? All of these were sovereign female rulers, not someone that happened to be a consort (like Kuweni) and predate people like Leelawathi by millennia.

      I understand wanting to be patriotic and proud of our history, but like the other ‘patriots’, you’ve chosen to ignore actual history. Its good places like CT exist so people like you can pass off ignorance as wisdom. Anywhere else you’d be laughed out of the room.

    • 0

      JD. The problem is that son of bitch, his mother screwed in a stinking toilet hole- Mahanama wrote a tale of lies and we call that our history. Funny is it not

  • 23

    Regarding women’s participation what you are suggesting is “trying to equilize the outcome”. Which has failed spectacularly in Scandinavian countries.

    Scandinavian countries are the first to try this in education. When women were encouraged to enter STEM fields by actively discriminating against males. But when given the priority for choosing any field they want the actual number of women who choose STEM fields dropped drastically.

    What was the last time you were harassed for sanitary napkins? Issue is “freebee handouts” Sajith is promising.
    Stop creating problems outof thin air.

    Where was your patriarchal tyranny when sirimavo became first ever prime minister in the entire world, chandrika became president. Rosey Senanayaka, Ferial Ashroff, Srimani Athulathmudali, Vijayakala Maheshwaran, Thalatha Athukorala, Pavithra Wanniarachchi… Queen Anula, Queen Lilavathi, Queen Soma, Queen Viharamahadevi… list goes on.

    Equilize the playing ground, equilize the opportunity not the outcome!

  • 7

    Anushka , You are absolutely right. Thought Lanka may boast to have the earliest woman leader in world, the general attitude is male dominating, chauvinistic and mostly treated as objects. Many of the SLPP/SLFP are stereotypical Male Chauvinistic PIGS. See what is happening in case of Chandrika the founder member of SLFP. MR as leader abused and exploited the party until the eleventh hour and switched membership to SLPP at his convenience and today claims Chandrika split the party and he decided to start the new party. The other presidential monkey was handed over GOP for a cause which he destroyed and then abandoned the members at the end of his tenure. Now MS and Dayasiri are planning to kick out Chandrika out of party and take full control of it. Also remember what was the fate of Shiranee the CJ, who was verbaly abused and kicked out overnight by Rajapaksa brothers. Also Vijayakala was punished because she was a woman where Wimal and team say all kind of shit and do illegal anti national activities (passport ) with encouragement. SLPP/SLFP members their their own women like dirt leave alone the the rest.

    • 5

      ” Now MS and Dayasiri are planning to kick out Chandrika out of party and take full control of it.”

      It is because Old Royals have folders on them both. But Ranil destroyed all folders on Old Royals, that were hanging in the departments, CID, FCID….. Now Old Royals can sue anybody but nobody can sue Old Royals. Thanks to Ranil’s service of “I saved all”.

      What is CBK losing here is only party membership, but not the popular support. CBK has two ways. Restart everything afresh like MGR. Or wait until Presidential election is over. If New King didn’t receive any better deal at that time, he will quit the new union. This is an uneasy Union. Remember, still 95 MPs under New King. None under Old King. The New Prime Minister can be only New King, not Old King. But it cannot work that way for Slap Party Family Enterprise & Co. That time she can claim back his membership.

  • 6

    SLPP/SLFP treat their own women like dirt leave alone general population. That is why when Sajith mentioned about menstrual hygiene , which our Male Chauvinistic Pigs could not understand the essence of it , and started vilifying and some even went to make fun. Salute to Sajith, who addressed women (for the first time in my memory), thereby giving making them equal and giving priority and due respect to their rights, which most of our “good for nothing” MCP, S of politics , have failed in past.My advise to the women folk is please “think, if needed discuss, ask questions and make the right decision in voting. Please be aware of these crooks when you vote . By your vote, you are not only deciding yours but entire women of our country. The history already has enough evidence. 1) taking away civic rights of Srima 2)kicking out CJ Shiranthie . B 3) kicking out Chandrika, the founder member of SLFP 4) partial ruling against Vijayakala 5) Ganasara abusing,threatening, calling vulgar names at wife of SF and missing Journalist 6) attitude and abuse of Rajapaksas towards Lasantha,s Daughter.

  • 2

    Ganeshan, you prove yourself to be the typical stereotype Anushka was talking about,. Your so called list is nothing but numbers. In that list we know civic rights of Srima was taken away, Vijayakala was served with partial justice, Rosy and Pavithra (you couldnt pick any better) are there just to showcase and rest is not worth talking. Your list is not going anywhere but you as a stereotype keeps going.Dude Srima and Srimani, were brought in, not with purpose (some may not even deserve) , but to exploit and cash on the prevailing sympathy, by putting the widows picture, knowing it will help the party and men controlling it. And you counting these in your list shows your stereotypical thinking. You mean to say Hillary, Thatcher, Merkel were picked because of sympathy, NO they were there because they deserve, and most importantly were treated equal.Your last sentence is a give a way of most stereotypes and pilot study in Scandinavia you used as an example shows your ignorance. In the same Scandinavian Countries today, thousands have gone far and beyond in achieving success in different fields because of such pilot studies. The people who lead Pepsi, HP, and other conglomerates have proved people like you are wrong, stupid and ignorant.

    • 17

      And you sound like the typical stereotypes the likes of Anushka is praying upon.

      We as a country does not have the patriarchal issues like Murica or much of the Europe, where Anushka and the gang get their prime education from.

      What’s wrong is not talking about patriarchy, but identifying it in wrong places . To generelize and entire election debacle to patriarchal tyranny shows stupidity or maybe (humor me) Political Bias and agenda.

      To think Hillary, Thacher or Markel were selected because of they are treated equily shows how uneducated you are on the subject. They too are political “players” in the arena. They were bought up because they bring in the most numbers of votes. Not because these countries celebrate womenhood or women are considered equal. They were given the opportunity because they are the ideal candidate for the job. Gender should never be the sole deciding factor in job suitability it should be competency. In a patriarchal tyranny those wouldn’t have gotten the chance even if they bought in biggest numbers. Now apply this to Sirimavo and you have your answer.

      Men and women will never be equal. Both have different parts to play and those different roles should be celebrated accordingly.

      You are missing the point of the whole article by ignorantly scepculating about scandanavia. What Scandinavian pilot program found was that when the playing field is leveled (or equility of opportunity is achieved) men and women tend to go different pathways. THIS is the main point you are missing. Maybe it’s not patriarchy that caused women to not enter political arena but something biological. Something hardwired.

  • 12

    If this writer wants us to talk about Lankan Moms and Sisters Menstruation I have no problem with it..
    UNP Presidential aspirant , Keselwatta Kid has already done that with his Public announcement making Menstruation a major national Issue in Lankawe.

    Srilankan families , specially our Sinhala Bbuddhist families have kept Menstruation as totally and strictly Secret Womens’ Business..
    And the old clothing has been helping them to get over this uncomfortable and cumbersome natural phenomenon every month since the Egyptians invented Cotton.
    After Yahapalanaya kicked in, our Colombo inhabitants got used to the modern aids to overcome it , so there are no restrictions to their activities, which is a positive outcome.

    But the UNP Candidate Keselwatta Kid’s free issue menstrual pads, I don’t think fall into that category.
    Based on the information from Hindians , they are making them in dusty little cottage industry units ,using recycled absorbent material.

    Even though it is a UNP initiative, I don’t think it will be acceptable to the UNP supporting ladies in Colombo
    Unless Dr Ranil brings an amendment and issue Pads as well as Tampons so the UNP supporters have a choice. .

    Pohottuwa supporters I don’t think will be interested in any of them..

    BTW, Kollonnawa Lady who turned UNP MP, Ms Hirunickers was boobed not because she is a woman.
    She was booed away because of her obnoxious language towards her dad’s old comrades..
    And also her disgusting attitude to poor inhabitants after going to bed with the UNP courtesy of Dr Ranil.
    Annd specially that abduction of an innocent man in broad daylight,in her own official Defender vehcle and trashing that poor soul in her own office.
    And getting away with it thanks to the Independence of Dr Rajnil’s Yahapalana police .

  • 5

    A typical Lankan male thinking must be , a man with “hangover” cant get to work , but a women with pain and bleeding with no help (pads /tampons) should not have any such issues in attending. Grow Up or else you will be left behind.

  • 14

    Also promise to give 5 days leave from work (paid leave) during menstruating period along with free pads. Men three days leave during wife’s period to do household chores. There will be a separate ministry to check whether they are really menstruating. By the way any hope of free underwear.

    • 7


      Yes there’ll be a minister for menstruating.

      As defense is going to be given to somebody else, he should have that ministry with himself.

      But the problem will be that RW might demand for it, making controversies again in the possible fresh govt.

      • 1

        R R,

        Dr Ranil will be picking his Ministers purely on a Scientific basis, where the appointees must be hands on..

        Dr Rani will have to count himself out on that count for that Ministry which you have mentioned..-

        Funny you mentioned ” controversies”,
        Dr Ranil said many times recently that He will the PM after the 17th.
        Dr Ranil even confirmed it to the Hiru Media.

        But Keselwatta Kid is going around in the South swearing that he won’t take rogues , crooks, corrupt, and drug suspects in to Ministries.

        May be Keselwatta Kid has given Dr Ranil guide lines already to help his Scientific Selection Process..

  • 1

    There are lots of questions. But the society which honored and celebrating the Rapist Army’s leaders as war hero is not obligated to answer to any of those. Will Appe Aanduwa clear its name, which condemn it as one of 22 barbaric, uncivilized, anagarika rapist army in the entire world which uses rape as weapon, at ICC?

    While Deepika is Human Right Commission chairperson, rapists and murderers slipped into UN Peacekeepers. It’s the same rapist army, then, came forward to defend Deepika. It is like the thief certified the qualification of the judge who investigated his theft. What a game!

    It is the Yahapalanaya, not Slap Party said the women should not work in restaurant because liquors are served there. Is that a pride of Sinhala Buddhists in which the entire family getting together and export the mother of the home to Middle East slavery?

    While officially and with legal impunity rapes, murders, slavery committed on the sister race to go loose but hanging on this petty is called Penny wise pound foolish, but not feminist activism.

    • 0

      Mally, Don’t feel offended. I thought we are on Menstruation , which UNP Candidate has identified as a National Issue which is as important as National Security and your mates new 13 Demands.

      Keselwatta Kid ,the UNP Candidate has to allocate LKR 3 Billion Rupeahs just for the Sanitary Pads,
      Add the Free Meals to our 40 Lkahs School Kids and Two sets of free Uniforms ,Dr Ranil’s all UNP Government is staring at a whopping LKR 10 Billion hole in the Yahapalana Mk 11 Budget.

      Mally tell me something.
      I know your Diaspora Heavy Hitter Suren Surendran in London promised USD 4 Billion last time.

      Now that Dr Ranil promised the Manipai inhabitants yesterday that he will give a Federal Homeland as soon as he gets the Presidency in to the UNP. will Suren release at least that 4 Billion a without any bonuses?.
      Because that will be a great help to plug any holes in Mangala Samare’s YMk11 inaugural Budget ..

  • 16

    The article is just waste of time. Hope she will be a good writer some day.

  • 13

    Anushka Kahandagama

    You demand equal right/treatment for women but when a woman politician is hooted @ in a political activity you say it’s an embarrassment.

    What a silly joker you’re.

    It’s natural anywhere in the world that people hoot @ politicians, whether men or women. the hoot isn’t for womanhood or manhood.

    Any country spends for welfarism but going for every detail like napkins is utterly ridiculous.

    It’s her own responsibility have them or dad, mom sister or husband’s responsibility; not the country’s leader.

    Won’t it be embarrassing for a woman to accept a pack of sanitary towels from a leader, after possible victory to display his fulfilling election promise.

    You appreciate it because you seems to be in favor of the politician who made that stupid idea.

    Remove your colored glasses to see the truth.

    After all sanitary towel isn’t an expensive thing.

  • 1

    You guys can keep harping on your own shit but the rest of the world will move on with its progress. India was one such country where women were not even allowed to venture outside of their house. Even today there is so much of atrocities against women taking place on daily basis. But there has been some changes in the positive direction where there are women not just to make up numbers but truly has made an impact. The MCP ,s who just dont get it, and boast here will not open their mouth and utter a word when attended by a lady doctor in an emergency/heart attack ( they may even plead to save their unworthy life) or when interviewed by a lady boss for a job or worse instructed by a lady to do a job (with their tails between the legs ).Your patriarchal sound byte may get some votes here in CT but not in reality. You say any of this in western world especially in the US , you may end up behind bars or paying compensation for life. Greshan, I very well understood your statement because I too was brought up with such believes and attitude , until I left the country and had the opportunity to live and work outside of Lanka.(I realize this alone in not enough to change the attitude of many Lankans). The greatest thing I gained was to respect all and treat equal regardless of their sex, color, race, cast,economic background or employment) I am also grateful to the almighty for giving me the opportunity to work in an occupation, where nothing stops me from serving that individual. Buddy in Psychology we are told “people who are suppressed most are the ones vent most , when given an opportunity” (passive aggressiveness).

    • 11

      “there is so much of atrocities against women taking place on daily basis”

      There are so many atrocities against MEN taking place on daily basis. Does that mean there is a matriarchal tyranny?

      1) Jails are filled with men.
      2) In Sri Lanka, Men receive lower secondary education compared to women
      3) Most reported violence are done on men
      4) Dangerous jobs are done by men.

      I mean where is the patriarchal tyranny?
      It’s high time people like you stop falling victim to these rhetorics and actually research on something.

      “You say any of this in western world especially in the US , you may end up behind bars or paying compensation for life”

      So ” Compelled Speech” right? I could go to jail for not using proper pronouns… George Orwell’s 1984 anyone???
      Stop spreading falls narratives. US is fighting back the likes of you. Who wants the “equility of outcome”. It simply ain’t going to work. History has repeatedly shown exactly that.

  • 7

    Many Sri Lankan women do not know this. But an inexpensive Mensus napkin can be made from Banana Leaves. Banana Leaves have some water resistance and that will help keep the ladies nice and dry. Besides, SL is a country where Banana trees grow freely.

    • 3

      What a brain, you may be a transexual to see it that way.
      I am a biologist, i have never heard of the qualities of Banana leaves for that purpose.
      Reginald shamal, you may be using MENSUS napkins made out of bananaleaves.

      • 7

        If that doesn’t work, then come up with your own solution. I am just trying to help because she’s been complaining about it for years now.

        How do you think Village ladies manage during Mensus? Using Proctor and Gamble’s 5 star rated Mensus Pads? No. It’s the good old Banana leaf.

        The Banana Leaf is also very effective when discarding. You just wrap it up like you’d be wrapping a Lampries and throw it away for the crows.

    • 2

      Lt Gen. why not use it as toilet papers.

  • 6

    Hirunika was not hooted because of her gender but the stupid statements and disgraceful behavior in social media and election campaigns. Get your facts right

  • 4

    Reading most of the comments was very saddened by how people talk about women’s menstruation. Secret or not there are real problems faced by village girls who don’t go to school during these days. The ones who comment here live in luxury or out in the western world who will not have their girls face this. SHAME ON YOU

  • 5


    What a complete and passionate article you have written, complete with references.

    A high-borne lady who lived in privilege all her life being lightly shoved, and sanitary napkins being ridiculed are the greatest issues faced by women from your island today. How dare these sexist, misogynist men treat women like this? Deplorable with a capital D.

    I bet you did not write any passionate article like this, when thousands of Tamil women, mostly non-combatants, were raped by your Ranaviru at Nanthikadal and internment camps on a daily basis. Women they might be, but they are only Tamil women. Therefore actually not women. Only she-animals.

    I bet you do not even bother about the thousands of Sinhala women who are sent to the middle east by their Sinhala husbands to be raped by the Marakkalayas there, or even the thousands who get beaten up, abused, sexually harassed, and humiliated on a daily basis in the villages in deep south. They may be Sinhala women, but still, they are from Colombo 7. They hardly count.

    Lets worry about the Hirunikas of the world being pushed and Sanitary napkins. These are the biggest issues the Colombo 7 women face, so these must be the best examples of the hardships women face. All Over The World.

    Get some perspective, for Gods sake.

  • 2

    Shemale, Reginald, banana leaf feminine pad in banana republic is a good idea. But hope you are not going to make also banana tampon. Used banana leaves you can sell to restaurants. It will give a nice flavour for Lumprise with fried chicken, cutlet and vambottu dhell dala. Better come back from Toronto to start the banana business for the keselwatte boy. Invite your pal HLD.

  • 4

    Greshan, Looks like you should be thanking Anushka for giving the opportunity, to get your therapy here in CT, free of charge. The four points you mentioned , what has that to do with our current discussion. Buddy if these are going to be your supporting evidence , lets call it a day, You win I loose. HAPPY ????

  • 2

    I just can not stop laughing ! Sajith is a man who is proud of following his father
    who led a crowd on the street demonstrating inflated condoms on sticks in
    seventies to ridicule Sirimavo’s non-aligned summit ! R Premadasa launched the
    harshest verbal attack on Sirimavo in parliament in clean Sinhala Language soon
    after he was appointed Prime minister, which made Sirimavo to leave the house !
    All these in seventies . Our politics is more personal and just a bit of politics to
    deceive the people that they are in politics . Nothing wrong in Sajith’s concern about
    girls’ menstruation cycle , nothing right either as an election promise ! There are
    so many ways to address issues of this kind but any way , Gota can counter it with
    more fascinating two meters of white Chinese poplin to honey-mooners for the
    Virginity test ! Girls can happily live for ever in the paradise !

  • 3


    I am suggesting that we folks in this forum collect some funds to purchase absolutely necessary sanitary napkins for the villages. Surely, the Administrator of this forum can open a PayPal page where we all donate for this worthy cause.

  • 4

    Dear Sisters, you make up more than 50% of the voting public and from your past experiences and reading the comments here in CT, ( I am sure you would have heard the same in your routine life many times ) think diligently and cast your vote. I am well aware of your strength, which is to talk less in this matters and show in action. Though you may not be treated equal , most elections are ultimately decided by your votes. You are not only voting to empower self , but all the sisters and mothers who are together in this with you . This is not all about party line, manifestos, individuals, sound bytes, race or religion. It is also about your own self respect, dignity, rights and equality. Anushka, as a favor please take your message to all the sisters and mothers of Lanka.

  • 5

    After making all kind of jokes at Sajith, Gotha soon realized it is not helping his cause at all, and so today he told “he is going to pay special attention to women who are feeling insecure in their own homes, while their husband and children are away. He further assured to put an end to violence against them and give equal rights,which they had been denied until now”. Now here , the CT readers and his own followers are thinking otherwise and calling it fake (not fact). Who to believe ???? . Gotha seems to have thrown his 500 points manual into garbage and decided just to copy Sajith response. You see the result in his speech today on Economy and welfare of women. I guess now that Hitler has agreed , his followers will take up “pseudo” names and come back to CT agreeing with him. (like exactly Ramanee said ). This is what Shit Hole Lankan politics is about.

  • 1

    Whywhy, do you still have virgins in SL south? Prick the finger and apply that blood on MIL’s face!

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