Sri Lankan President doesn't want women to buy alcohol
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has overruled his government's reform to let women buy alcohol. Announced on Wednesday, the move aimed to amend a sexist 1955 law that prevents Sri Lankan women from purchasing liquor. However, Sirisena informed a rally on Sunday that he had ordered his government to withdraw the notification revoking the ban. Read on to know more.
Why was the reform necessary?
The law bans women from only buying alcohol, not consuming it, which is both absurd and discriminatory. Had it been lifted, it would have allowed: 1. All Sri Lankan women older than 18 to legally buy booze for the first time in over 60 years, 2. Alcohol sales from 8am-10pm instead of the current 9am-9pm, 3. Women to work in bars without a permit.
Why has the ban been reinstated?
Several monks in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka had slammed the ban-lifting, worrying that it would turn more women into alcohol addicts and ruin family structures. However, Sirisena's intervention and the monks' fears seem wholly unfounded, especially because according to a WHO 2014 report, 80.5% of Sri Lankan women don't drink at all. To add to it, less than 0.1% of them are heavy drinkers.
Is Sirisena a hypocrite?
Calling it another tool of control, Twitter users are attacking Sirisena for his apparent hypocrisy. On one hand, he is encouraging Sri Lankan women's active participation in politics. However, on the other, he thinks they are not mature enough even to decide whether to buy alcohol or not. His contradictory move is also reflective of the growing rifts within his coalition government.