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Report on Women’s Political Representation through 25 percent LG Quota in Sri Lanka

Muragala l Centre for Progressive Politics & Policy published a study In January 2024, together with the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES). The study examines the 25 percent quota for women mandated through the Local Authorities (Amendment) Act, No. 1 of 2016 and electorally implemented through the Local Authorities Elections Act No. 16 of 2017. The quota increased women’s representation in local authorities from two percent to nearly 23 percent.

After a term of being in operation, there is a pressing need to assess the outcomes of the quota, and this study does so by examining them against the policy context and the discourses that framed it. It explores the process of drafting and implementing the policy in three stages: the initial policy drafting stage; the policy implementation stage; and the post-election stage. This study examines the influence and interests of three main stakeholders who played a key role during the three stages of the policy identified above: women’s rights groups, political party actors, and women councillors who were elected through the 25 percent quota. It traces the competing interests and discourses that influenced the policy, the political bargaining that took place during its implementation, and the experiences of successes and failures after the election of female local government (LG) councillors.

As a qualitative study, it emphasises experiences, narratives, memories and retrospective reflections on the 25 percent quota. The data was collected through key informant interviews (KIIs) with political party leaders, women’s rights activists, and government officials involved in the process, and focus group discussions (FGDs) in both rural and urban areas and among women from different class and ethno-religious backgrounds. The reports are available in English, Tamil, and Sinhala and can be downloaded below:

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