Feminist Theory Website

Feminism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Individual Feminists:

Kumari Jayawardena

Sunila Abeysekera

Other Feminists:

Chitra Fernando

Internet Links

SAWNET: South Asian Women's Net can be accessed here.


      There are many important women's organizations in Sri Lanka:

      1. The Women's Liberation Movement of Sri Lanka is dedicated to bringing more equal rights to the women factory workers in Sri Lanka. For more information, please write to: The Women's Liberation Movement of Sri Lanka, 54 Tudella, Ja-ela, Sri Lanka.
      2. CENWOR - Centre for Women's Research, which publishes materials concerning women's issues. For more information, please write to: CENWOR, Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, 120/10 Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo-7, Sri Lanka.
      3. The Hatton Women's Committee works with plantation workers (tamil women). They have three primary objectives: a) to raise the level of awareness and provide a forum for women in the plantations, b) to motivate, educate and train plantation women with a view to emancipate them from their current subordinate status and empower thyem to play a positive and equitable role in society, and c) to provide for the organization of plantation women in order to enable and develop their confidence, self-esteem and participation in decision-making. For more information, please write to: Hatton Women's Committee, c/o Anna Abeyasekara, Dunbar Road, Halton, Sri Lanka.
      4. Kantha Handa (Voice of Women) is a group which works with women refugees of ethnic fighting. They publish "Women's House" in 3 languages. For more information, please write to: Kantha Handa, 25 Kirula Rd, Colombo-5, Sri Lanka.
      5. PAWF - Pacific and Asian Women's Forum links together many different women's organizations in Asia and the Pacific. For more information, please write to: PAWF, 623/27 Rajagiriya Gardens, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka.
      6. The Katunayake Women's Group works to improve the conditions for women factory workers and publishes a newsletter in Sinhala. For more information, please contact: The Kantunayake Women's Group, Periyamulla, Negombo, Sri Lanka.
      7. The Progressive Women's Front works to improve the conditions for peasant women and publishes a journal in Sinhala. For more information, please contact: The Progressive Women's Front, c/o Sumika Perera, Galketigama, Ibbagamuwa, Sri Lanka.


      Abeysekera, Sunila. "The Abortion Debate in Sri Lanka," in Reproductive Health Matters. (London: 1995).

      Abeysekera, Sunila. "Consolidating Our Gains at the World Conference on Women's Human Rights: A Personal Reflection." Canadian Women's Studies Journal 15 (Spring-Summ 1995).

      Abeysekera, Sunila. "Organising for Peace in the Midst of War: Experiences of Women in Sri Lanka," in From Basic Needs to Basic Rights. Ed. M. Schuler. (Washington DC: Women, Law and Development International, 1995).

      Abeysekera, Sunila. "Representations of Women in the Sinhala Cinema." Cinemaya: Indian Film Journal (1996).

      Abeysekera, Sunila. "Women and the Media in Sri Lanka: The Decade from Nairobi to Beijing," in Facets of Change. (Sri Lanka: CENWOR, 1995).

      Grossholtz, Jean. Forging Capitalist Patriarchy: The Economic and Social Transformation of Feudal Sri Lanka and Its Impact on Women. Duke Univ. Press, 1984.

      Jayawardena, Kumari. Ethnic and Class Conflicts in Sri Lanka. Colombo: , 1985.

      Jayawardena, Kumari. Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World. London: Zed Books, 1986.

      Jayawardena, Kumari. From Nobodies to Somebodies -- The Rise of the Bourgeoisie in Sri Lanka. Colombo: Social Scientists' Association, 1998.

      Jayawardena, Kumari. The Rise of the Labor Movement in Ceylon. North Carolina: Duke University Pres, 1972.

      Jayawardena, Kumari. The White Woman's Other Burden -- Western Women and South Asia During British RuleNew York: Routledge, 1995.

      Jayawardena, Kumari and Malathi de Alwis, ed. Embodied Violence -- Communalising Women's Sexuality in South Asia. London: Zed Books and Kali for Women, 1998.

      Kiribamune, Srima and Vidvamali Sanarasinghe. Women at the Crossroads: A Sri Lankan Perspective. Strosius Inc. / Advent Books Division, 1990.

      Skjonsberg, Else. A Special Caste? Village Women in Sri Lanka Today. Lawrence Hill and Co., 1983.

      Thorbeck, Susanne. Gender and Slum Culture in Urban Asia. Zed Books, 1994.

      Wickramasinghe, Anoja. Deforestation, Women and Forestry: The Case of Sri Lanka. Intl. Books, 1995.

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