May 20, 2024
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    President Announces Plans to Pass Women-Empowering Bills in Parliament by June Featured

    May 11, 2024

    President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized his recognition of the challenges women face in safeguarding their families amidst the economic crisis. He highlighted the government’s swift action by presenting two bills to the Parliament aimed at empowering women during this initial phase of economic recovery.

    The President indicated that these bills are anticipated to be ratified by the Parliament in June, thereby enforcing a national policy on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This includes the establishment of a National Commission on Women and mechanisms to protect women’s rights and prevent violations thereof, including legal recourse.

    President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks during his keynote address at the unveiling of three “Anti-Violence Global Gestures” handprints against sexual violence targeting women and girls in public spaces, organized by DP Education at the Nelum Pokuna Theater in Colombo today (10).

    Addressing the gathering President Ranil Wickremesinghe said;

    “Mr. Dhammika Perera has initiated a transformative movement. His initiative against violence towards women deserves recognition. Enterprises such as DP Education should play a pivotal role in shaping future education. Historically, education was conducted outdoors under trees, using stone slabs as tools.

    Over time, buildings and books became integral to the educational process. However, the advent of mobile phones has introduced new dynamics. Education has evolved from traditional temple-based learning to modern classroom settings. Today, technology such as smart classrooms is revolutionizing education.

    Mr. Dhammika Perera’s introduction of DP Education represents a new paradigm in education. This foundation has provided resources to 600 schools, reshaping tuition classes as well.

    With the integration of artificial intelligence (AI), education stands poised for further revolution. It is imperative that children benefit from these advancements and efforts should be made to ensure universal access to quality education. While addressing violence against women, today’s event introduced techniques for prevention. Legislation against such violence is being introduced in parliament.

    These hand signals serve as practical tools to combat violence against women, signalling our commitment to safeguarding women’s rights. Action must accompany words and through these signals, society can become more vigilant against violence towards women, fostering a culture of resistance.

    I anticipate significant publicity for this initiative, given the presence of both capitalists and philanthropists in our nation. Philanthropists, individuals who amass wealth and engage in social endeavours, exemplify this spirit. Mr. Dhammika Perera stands as a prime example through his altruistic actions. This endeavour holds promise in empowering women against the scourge of violence they face, particularly exacerbated by economic crises. Upon assuming office, I witnessed first-hand the dire plight of women, many heading households amidst scarcity. Hence, our dedication to bolstering their empowerment.

    Presented before Parliament are the Women’s Empowerment Bill and the Gender Equality Bill, pivotal instruments for enacting a national policy on gender parity and women’s empowerment. These bills advocate for the establishment of a National Commission on Women, equipped to safeguard women’s rights and pursue justice for any violations thereof. Furthermore, a specialized commission will address instances of violence against women, providing prompt remedies as needed.

    Remarkably, women are increasingly excelling in education, yet impediments persist. It falls upon us to dismantle these barriers. The Women’s caucus in the Parliament has been established, underscoring their pivotal role in this endeavour. We are committed to fostering social justice by redressing the challenges confronting women and girls.

    Both bills are slated for passage in June. I have initiated discussions with the Prime Minister to augment female representation in local government elections following the presidential and general elections. It is our aspiration to ensure at least a 25% representation of women in parliamentary seats and to bolster their presence in provincial councils.

    Additionally, efforts are underway to acknowledge women’s political rights. By 2030, amendments to the law should establish recognition for a women’s political party. Our focus remains on affirming women’s rights in Sri Lanka and ensuring their rightful representation.”

    Founder of DP Education and Chairman MP Dhammika Perera;

    Dhammika and Priscilla Perera Foundation was founded in 2016 with the vision of cultivating a nation abundant in educational opportunities. Today, we have successfully equipped schoolchildren with essential resources, benefiting around 1.5 million students. Additionally, our foundation has initiated a dedicated program tailored for pre-school children, emphasizing early education and development.

    As advised by child psychiatrists, we endeavoured to design a program tailored to the rich traditional heritage of Sri Lanka. Through our efforts, we have established 1000 preschools aimed at nurturing the complete childhood development of children.

    Recognizing the unique cultural richness of South Asia and the high quality of Sri Lanka’s education system, our foundation is dedicated to shaping a youth steeped in both tradition and technology. We achieve this by imparting knowledge in information technology and language skills.

    Speaker of the Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, State Ministers Anupa Pasqual, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Aravind Kumar, Parliamentarians Wajira Abeywardena, Sanjeewa Edirimanna, A.H.M. Fowzie, Angajan Ramanathan, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Senior Advisor to the President on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardena, Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Representative for Sri Lanka and Country Director for The Maldives Kunle Adeniyi, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Diplomatic Representatives, University Lecturers, teachers and students were also present on the occasion.

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