MP Sajith Premadasa makes three claims: (1) representation of women in the current parliament is 5.8%; (2) the number of women in parliament has been low over time; and (3) the 2015- 2019 government increased representation of women in local authorities to the level of 25%.
FactCheck assessed the MP’s claim using data from the Parliament of Sri Lanka and the Election Commission.
The MP is correct on the first claim – 13 out of 225 (or 5.8%) elected to the current parliament were women. The MP’s second claim is also correct – from 1989 to date, the average of women in parliament is 5.3%. Sri Lanka ranks 183rd out of 193 countries in its share of women in parliament (January 2019, Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women).
The number of women elected in the 2011 local government election was only 1.9%. In 2017 the amendment to the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance mandated a 25% quota for women appointed, and this law was followed in the 2018 local government elections. This corroborates the MPs third claim as well.
Based on the above information, we classify the MP’s claim as TRUE.
NB: There are weaknesses in the mechanism for implementing the quota. The Election Commission has not published information on the actual percentage of women appointed in 2018, but in informal communications has provided the number as 22.1%.
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