How one woman's loss of seat in Sri Lanka's parliament becomes loss for all women

by Ajith

Politician Geetha Kumarasinghe lost her parliamentary seat recently after a lengthy court procedure because she was proven a dual citizen of both Sri Lanka and Switzerland. Under the 19th amendment to the constitution of Sri Lanka, the dual citizens are not qualified to represent the national parliament. They cannot even contest the elections.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka's 225-member eighth parliament which was represented by 13 women MPs is now reduced to a dozen women body. While women constitute 52 percent of Sri Lanka's population, the female representation in the parliament is mere 5.3 percent. 

Women's percentage among parliamentarians has never exceeded 6.5 percent in the history of Sri Lanka. 

Mrs. Adline Molamure was the first Sri Lankan woman to elect to parliament in 1931 in a by-election. 

Following women MPs represent Sri Lanka's parliament now. United National Party (UNP) and Tamil National Alliance (TNA / ITAK) are the only two political parties which have offered national list seats to women in the parliament. United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), a major party which holds a number of seats in the parliament has not allocated national list seats to women MPs. 

  1. Mrs. Chandrani Bandara - UNP (Anuradhapura)
  2. Mrs. Thalatha Atukorale - UNP (Ratnapura)
  3. Mrs. Vijayakala Maheswaran - UNP (Jaffna)
  4. Dr. (Mrs.) Sudarshini Fernandopulle - UPFA (Gampaha)
  5. Mrs. Sumedha G. Jayasena - UPFA (Monaragala)
  6. Dr. (Mrs.) Anoma Gamage - UNP (National List)
  7. Mrs. Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi - UPFA (Ratnapura)
  8. Mrs. Sriyani Wijewickrama - UPFA (Digamadulla)
  9. Mrs. Hirunika Premachandra - UNP (Colombo)
  10. Dr. (Mrs.) Thusitha Wijemanna - UNP (Kegalle)
  11. Mrs. Rohini Kumari Wijerathna - UNP (Matale)
  12. Mrs. Shanthi Sriskandarasa - ITAK (National List)

The following diagram indicates the numbers and the percentages of the women members of the parliament of Sri Lanka throughout the history.