Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus held discussions regarding the matters related to the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution from a Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) perspective recently (06) in Parliament.
The discussion was held at a meeting of the Women Parliamentarian’s Caucus chaired by Hon. (Dr.) Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Member of Parliament.
Whilst highlighting the Salient features of the Bill, the Caucus was of the view that no Amendment has awarded any gender quota (in the form of a reserved seats or otherwise) to ensure female representation in the Constitutional Council and that the Bill does not expressly contain any substantial provisions aimed at ensuring Gender Equality or social Inclusion.
Accordingly, the Caucus was of the view that the Bill should be revised incorporating a gender quota in the Constitution allowing women to be included in decision-making entities including the Commissions and the Constitutional Council. It was also recommended to suggest a quota for a woman parliamentarian to be appointed to the post of Speaker or Deputy Speaker.
It is also recommended that Article 16 of the Constitution is amended to ensure that the provisions in the Fundamental Rights Chapter, particularly Article 12, overrides the restrictions arising from retaining old laws, including personal laws such as the MMDA and property rights of married women under Tesawalami law, that claw back of equality for women.
Members of Parliament Hon. Thalatha Athukorala, Hon. Rohini Wijeratne, Hon. Rajika Wickramasinghe, Hon. Manjula Dissanayake, representatives of National Democratic Institute (NDI) were present at this Committee meeting held.