Sri Lanka (Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) has a Unicameral parliament with legislated quotas at the sub-national level. 12 of 225 (5%) seats in the Parliament are held by women.
At a glance
Structure of Parliament: Unicameral
Are there legislated quotas...
- For the Single/Lower House? No
- For the Sub-National Level? Yes
Are there voluntary quotas...
- Adopted by political parties? No
Is there additional information?...
Last updated: Jan 25, 2022
Quota at the Sub-National Level
- Quota type: Reserved seats
|Quota type: Reserved seats||Constitution|
27F. (1) Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Ordinance, not less than twenty five per centum of the total number of members in each local authority shall be women members: provided that, where the number constituting twenty five per centum of the total number of members in a local authority in an integer and fraction, the integer shall be deemed to be the number which shall constitute twenty five per centum for the purpose of this section. Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 16 of 2017
|Legal sanctions for non-compliance|
|Rank order/placement rules||No data available|
Previously, several proposals on quotas for women had been made between 1998 and 2000, but then abandoned in 2000. The proposal for a 25% quota for women in local bodies was dropped in the draft constitution presented to parliament and withdrawn in 2000. Tamil and Muslim party leaders opposed the quota because of the difficulties in finding women candidates. In 2002, calls for quotas were renewed. Hema Ratnayake, the Minister of Women's Affairs, has declared that her People's Alliance government will draft legislation to provide a minimum of 25% representation of women in all elected bodies: from the national parliamentary level to village councils.
In 2016, Sri Lanka’s government passed a 25% women’s quota for local elections through the Local Authorities (Amendment) Act, No. 1 of 2016. This was later amended by Act No.16 of 2017, passed in August 2017. The Election Commission has the authority to reject nomination lists submitted by a political party or contesting independent group if they do not meet the basic legal requirements for the number of women candidates (IFES 2018).
- International Foundation for Electoral Systems, IFES - Elections in Sri Lanka. 2018 Local Government Elections [Frequently Asked Questions]
- Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU Parline Sri Lanka
- See the latest updates on Sri Lanka on iKNOW Politics
- The Borgen Project. 2020. 5 Facts about women's rights in Sri Lanka. [Last accessed: 2022-01-25]
- Vijeyarasa, R. 2020. Women's absence in Sri Lankan politics: Lessons on the effectiveness and limitations of quotas to address under-representation. (81).
- Bjarnegård, E., Håkansson, S. & Zetterberg, P. (2020). Gender and Violence against Political Candidates: Lessons from Sri Lanka.Politics and Gender.
- Gomez, M. & Shyamala G. 2001. Preferring Women. Women in Action. 46. no. 2.
- ‘Missing Women and Elections.’ 2001. Midweek Review. November 14.
- Centre for Women's Research. 2000. Post Beijing Reflections: Women in Sri Lanka 1995-2000. Report.
- Kiribaumune, S. (ed.). 1999. Women and Politics in Sri Lanka: A Comparative Perspective. Sri Lanka: International Center for Ethic Studies.
- Samath, F. 1998. Politics-Sri Lanka: Women Promised Quotas in Parliament. Interpress Service, March 20.
- Sri Lanka Parliament website, http://www.parliament.lk/
- Kodikara, C. & Wickramasinghe, M. Representation in Politics: Women and gender in the Sri Lankan Republic.