Shadow Report to CEDAW
Publication Date: Dec 2001
Sri Lanka ratified CEDAW in 1981 without any reservations. In 2001, NGOs participated in producing this shadow report. Traditionally Sri Lanka has fared well in terms of basic social indicators like life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment, infant mortality, child mortality, maternal mortality and composite qualitative indices such as Human Development Index and Gender Development Index. In fact, women's life expectancy and literacy exceed men's in Sri Lanka. However the government's agenda, the conflict, and regional imbalances within the country still leave many women at a disadvantage. The government's agenda has been dominated by the twin challenges of sustaining the economy amidst the onslaught of globalisation and the growing defence budget on account of the war, which is in the range of 5-6 per cent of GDP. Women are vulnerable as a target for both state-military and non-state armed groups both due to their gender and ethnic origin. The number of war widows and female-headed households is also growing as a result of the conflict. The shadow report raises these and other issues in the areas of human rights, governance and democracy, employment, health, education, and agendas of women's organisations.