The first woman President in Sri Lanka President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said that it is most appropriate that alleviation of poverty amongst women should have been made the theme of the Women’s day of the year in view of the degree of priority that has been accorded to this matter in the government’s development programmes.
The full text of the Sri Lankan President’s International Women’s Day speech as follows:
It gives me great pleasure to issue a message of greetings to mark the International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8. It is most appropriate that alleviation of poverty amongst women should have been made the theme of the Women’s Day for the year in view of the degree of priority that has been accorded to this matter in the government’s development programmes.
It is imperative that women, who constitute nearly 51% of the population of Sri Lanka, should be made to contribute meaningfully to the development effort. There is no gainsaying the fact that women play a significant role in the decision-making process of the family unit. Hence, the involvement of women in the development process through the poverty alleviation strategy would be an exercise, which is designed to ensure the maximum utilisation of human resources. Our government has put in place a host of socio-economic programmes at rural as well as national level, targeting the women’s participation where special emphasis has been laid on the role of women in the social development. The women’s contribution to the success of these programmes is, indeed, commendable.
Action is now under way to ameliorate the socio-economic conditions of women as well as their family and the problems of harassment and violence that women are subjected to, are now being seriously addressed. With this end in view, the law has now been amended and our principal objective has always been to usher in a violence-free Sri Lanka. The Government has, thus, striven with the utmost sense of commitment to minimise the incidence of all forms of violence including drug abuse that lead to acts of violence against women. Special attention of the Government is now focused on the provision of counselling of various credit programmes aimed at improving the lot of women economically and the rehabilitation of displaced women in the Northeast and their families.
We are justly proud that our women have achieved a high level of literacy compared with other countries in the Asian region and that life expectancy of the women too has increased due to advancements made at the field of public health. In this context, I may add that women have been a leading foreign exchange earner for Sri Lanka.
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