Workshop report 30.09.2016
The Centre for women and Development , Targeting the women who are willing to contest in the coming local Government Election has organized and conducted five programs in Jaffna Kilinochchi , Mannar , Mullaithevu, and Vavuniya districts , for a group of women actively involved in politics. Through this program we are proud to mention that 150 women have been trained and most of them have given their consent that they will contest in the election If parties are willing to give nominations . to them . Women also felt that without women no politics but no politics for women .
Political and social rights of women, rights for enhancing efforts, and women representation are questionable still in the local government Bodies and in the Parliament. In SriLanka’s total population women counts 57% and still only 13 women are represented in the parliament.
Although women worked with political parties during the local government and parliamentary selection, nominations were ignored. Even though the quota of 25% to be given to women in nominations which also was not considered positively. Women consist 57% in the total population of Sri Lanka and their role is to be as voters electing men to play a key role in politics. The time has come to give pressure to the political parties to give reasonable nominations for women to contest in Elections. Run in the local Government election is the first step for women to enter into politics..Therefore its important to make them as a capable candidates with confidence to contest in the elections.
Therefore we have taken a quick decision to conduct these programs for women who are actively involved in politics. The programs were scheduled to cover five districts in the Northern province.
The program aims to achieve the following issues.
- Activate more women to contest in elections.
- Political education and awareness for women
- Training programs of political leadership and voting system of election.
- Positive Campaign for women who come forward to run in elections
The program in Jaffna was conducted on 2 and 3rd Aug where 20 participants participated. Mr T Devananth ,Director Media resource centre , Prof V.P Sivanathan , Uni. Of Jaffna guided the participants.
The second program was held in Klinochchi on 6 th Sept and where 26 participants attended from three parties.
Mr D.C Amalraj , Asst Commissioner of Election came as a resource person and Ms S. Vimaleswary, Rtd Provincial Director , Ms N .Mathini Former Member Urban Council Point Pedro also shared their experiences.
The program at Mullaithevu was conducted on 12th of September 2016 at the Divisional secretariat, Maritime pattu , Mullaithevu conference hall. 30 women attended in the program.
Saroja Sivachandran following the introduction of the participants led opened the floor for the discussion. Each of the participants spoke , their interest in politics and they never had a chance of getting nominated by the parties. It all depends of their approach and the involvement they work for the party .It was clearly expressed that their interest alone is not enough but they should work for the party in which they seek nomination and show close confidence in the party.
Ms Shanthi Sriskandaraja Member of parliament who attended in our program and delivered a key note address. Her speech was really empowered the participants and she shared her experiences and the hardships she underwent in the campaign process. She made the women to ignore all the Mud slinging efforts by men and to be confident in contesting in the local Government election as this is the first step for women to enter into politics..
Ms S. Vimaleswary the Retd provincial director NYSC took the lecture. on the use of social media for election campaign.
Ms N. Mathini as a resource person shared her political experiences and explained how to overcome the obstacles hindering women to get involved in politics.
Mr D.C Amalraj Asst Commissioner of Elections clearly explained the electoral reforms and the present proposed system the election is going to be held.
The fourth program was conducted in Mannar where 29 women attended . and the as resourse persons Mr D C Aravindaraj Asst Commissioner of election , Ms Vimaleswary and Ms N . Mathini also shared their experiences, The women specially expressed that they never had the opportunity to listen this kind of program and the information given to them make them more confident to contest in the election.
The fifth program was held in Vaviniya for about 44 women form five prominent parties attended. Mr A.O.M Nafeel Provincial commissioner of elections attended as a resource person and explained the present electoral reforms and the proposed election system.Ms N. geethanjali Chief organizer SLFP, Me N Mathini, Ms S, Vimaleswary also came as resource persons.
The women who attended the programs have given their consent that they are willing to contest in the local government elections . Therefore we as an organization going to prepare a list of the women who are willing to contest , and send the names to the parties concerned to consider them for nominations. Therefore the parties will not have an excuse as in the past to say women are not willing to contest in elections.
The Election commissioner’s requested us to conduct some programs as parallel to this on voter’s education too as its also important to women to exercise their voting rights .
Women also requested us to continue this program and at the end to have a forum with all the members to strengthen solidarity among women in this process.
Executive Director CWD