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2017

Women & Media Collective
Women & Media Collective

Annual Report
Contents
Women and Media Collective
Established in 1984 Our Vision, Mission and
Strategic Areas
Registered Address
56/1, Sarasavi Lane Chairperson’s Message
Castle Street
Colombo 08
Introduction
Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11-2690201/2690192/5925900
Current Work 2017
Fax: 2690201/2690192
Email: wmcsrilanka@gmail.com
Facebook.com/womenandmediacollective Gender and Politics
Twitter.com/womenandmedia
Gender, Work & Economic Rights
Legal Status
Company Limited by Guarantee Gender & Sexuality
Incorporated in Sri Lanka
Company Registration No. GA 2476 Gender & Media
Registered as an NGO with Ministry of Social Welfare
Website & Social media, New Media
Date of Incorporation
October 25, 2010 In memoriam

Company Secretaries
Upcoming projects 2018
CG Corporate Consultants (Pvt) Ltd
Financial Statements
Auditors
Ernst & Young, Sri Lanka
Chartered Accountants

Legal Consultants
Tiruchelvam Associates

Tax Consultants
SJMS Associates

Bankers
Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka




Message from the Chairperson of the Board of Directors
It gives me great pleasure to contribute this message to the Women and Media Collective’s
Annual Report 2017.

I look back on 2017 as as a defining year for WMC. Amongst the major changes that took
place were far-reaching shifts in the organisation’s administrative structure and modes of
functioning. While there had been some evolution over the years in these respects, this had
largely happened organically. Administrative roles, individuals’ decision making capacities,
and the organizational hierarchy and culture were still shaped by WMC’s long history of
development from the 1980s. Last year, following a long process of consultation with staff
and the WMC Board, the organisation’s administrative structure was formally changed in
fundamental ways, reflecting its valuing of the ideals of being democratic, transparent and
autonomous in its staff.

Another key turning point was another comprehensive strategic planning process that not
only helped re-focus its domains of work but also pushed it to reflect on its organizational
profile and mandate. This exercise helped WMC staff, Board members and allies to take
time off to think deeply about questions that are usually not addressed in the day-to-day
functioning of the organization. What was WMC’s continuing role in the present moment?
Was the organization addressing this question in an aware way? How did women’s
organisations perceive WMC and what were their expectations of the organization, and how
was WMC’s activism congruent with those perceptions and expectations? These and other
questions afforded the opportunity for a self-reflexive and ideologically-based conversation,
rarely to be found in the more corporate-influenced strategic planning processes, and
crucial for resisting the adoption of unthinking ‘professionalised’ approaches towards
fulfilling feminist mandates.

The past year has also seen the organization’s finances improve, with WMC forging links
with international funding and advocacy organisations. In an environment where securing
funding for feminist issues is by no means guaranteed, WMC has struggled hard to ensure
that its politics, mandate and areas of work are not led by the exigencies of the
marketplace. What the organization has been particularly successful in doing is to ensure
that there is still scope for women’s activism that is voluntary or does not require ‘big’
funds. It has offered its space for events led by allied feminist collectives; participated with
other volunteers to collectively produce journalism on feminist issues; actively courted the
interest of actors in diverse fields, from mental health to faith-based organisations, and
enlisted them in its activities, and so on.

These shifts have laid the ground for some promising years ahead for the organization, and
WMC can now look forward to some renewed public interest and engagement in its
activism. I am committed to stand behind these efforts, and I wish the organization all the
very best for the years ahead.
Maybe a note abut engagement with cross generational and younger feminists and diverse
issues and feminist politics

Dr Shermal Wijewardene
Chairperson , Board of Directors
June, 2018

Board of Directors

Shermal Wijewardena (Chairperson) Santhini Jayawardena

Pradeep Peiris Nilanthi Sivapragasam

Ananda Galappatti

Deanne Uyangoda

S

Nilanthi Sivapragasam

Shanthini Jayawardena
Introduction
The Women and Media Collective (WMC) was formed in 1984 by a group of Sri Lankan feminists
interested in exploring ideological and practical issues of concern to women in Sri Lanka. WMC is
motivated by its mission of bringing about a transformative change, based on feminist principles,
within a rights framework, through media, advocacy, research and coalition building, for an
inclusive, equal and non-discriminatory society that is free from violence and militarization. As such,
WMC has over 30 years of organisational experience that has resulted in political change, state
reform, the inclusion of women and gender concerns in the peace process, increased state
recognition of women’s rights, the enactment of new legislation or legislative reform promoting and
protecting women’s rights and recognition for the need to increase women’s representation in
politics.

WMC has engaged in policy discussions related to women’s land rights, single women and female
heads of households, peace-making and peace-building, and media reforms among others. WMC
also contributed a gendered analysis and responded in a gender sensitive manner in dealing with
disasters such as the Tsunami of 2004. WMC has actively engaged with the State in the past
advocating on the incorporation of international standards into domestic law and the
implementation of existing domestic law and policies particularly with regards to women with the
aim of bringing about a gendered perspective to state and politics. A significant achievement in this
domain is lobbying and advocacy which resulted in the enactment of the Prevention of Domestic
Violence Act in 2005.

WMC’s research and advocacy engagement over the years has evolved and progressed along with
the changing socio-political dynamics in Sri Lanka. Owing to WMC’s expertise, the organization is not
only positioned to identify the gaps, issues and challenges faced when trying to achieve women’s
rights in Sri Lanka, but also to strategize and work towards finding solutions for these concerns. This
has enabled the organization to stay contextually relevant and updated with the current realities for
women in Sri Lanka. WMC is recognized as a strong, valuable partner by other women’s groups, Civil
Society Organisatons, state entities and international organizations. While WMC works in Sri Lanka,
it is also well networked with other organizations at regional and global level. WMC also has a
strong network of institutional links at local and national level and undertakes much of its work
through close collaboration with these institutions and groups. WMC networks with a range of
organizations from community based local women’s organizations to national level institutions
which have a direct voice in policy formulation and implementation. Thus, WMC has acted as a
bridge that closes the gap between high level policy-making and community based or the
marginalised in the work of promoting and protecting women’s human rights.

Strategic Planning Process

Every few years it is recommended that an organisation should develop their strategic plans for the
coming period. Given current change of landscape in the socio economic environment in Sri Lanka,
the Board of Directors and the management decided to revisit the program areas of the
organization. The process of strategic planning basically involves the defining and drafting of a clear
purpose for the organization and developing realistic and achievable goals. This is matched with the
capacity of the organization to deliver those goals within a defined time frame.
This process was carried out in several steps which involved consultations with the staff,
management and external stake holders.

Following are the priority areas identified in relation to work of the organization

 Feminist ideology and capacity building
 Policy engagement and national advocacy
 International advocacy
 Mobilization and Feminist Networks

WMC Staff members

Kumudini Samuel Sepali Kottegoda
WMC Staff members

Tharanga Samuel
Kumudini de Silva (jJoined July 2017) Nelika Rajapaksa
Sepali Kottegoda

Violet Perera
Tharanga de Silva (Joined in July 2017) EvangelineNelika
de Silva (Resigned Oct 2017)
Rajapaksa

Velayudan
Violet Jeyachithra
Perera Sanchia Brown
Velayudan Jeyachithra

Subha Wijesiriwardena
Evangeline (jJoined
de Silva (Resigned OctNov 2017)
2017) Vanamali Sanchia
Galappatti
Brown

Stella Phillips
Subha Wijesiriwardena (Joined Nov 2017) S. Prabhakaran
Vanamali Galappatti

Stella Phillips S. Prabhaharan
Current Work - 2017
Gender and Politics
The Gender and Politics domain has concentrated on advocacy in the area of Constitutional
Reform, Transitional Justice mechanisms, increasing women’s political representation
through affirmative measures and mechanisms, assisting with the formulation of National
Action Plans of the State and legal and policy reform in relation to promoting, protecting
and fulfilling women’s human rights, feminist principles and enabling social justice. This
work is carried out through a consultative process with both Civil Society Groups and the
State. WMC has also engaged with international standard setting and reporting processes
such as the (UPR) Universal Periodic Review, CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and CESCR (Convention on Economic Social and
Cultural Rights) review processes and General Comment formulation.

Constitutional Reform
WMC engaged extensively with the Constitutional Reform process of 2016 making
representations before the Public Representations Committee for Constitutional Reform,
(PRC) advocating and supporting community based women’s organisations to make
representations before the PRC in all districts and making submissions to the to the Steering
Committee of the Constitutional Assembly and written and oral representations to the Sub
Committee on Fundamental Rights appointed by the Steering Committee. WMC engaged
with a broader network of CSOs including women’s organisations in this process and paid
particular attention to advocacy on an inclusive equality and non-discrimination clause that
included inter alia non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity
(SOGI). While this advocacy was spearheaded together with LGBTIQ groups, WMC engaged
in a process of extensive networking in collaboration with the Law and Society Trust (LST)
and Internews over a number of months to advocate strongly for the inclusion of socio-
economic and cultural rights in the Fundamental Rights Chapter of the proposed new
Constitution. This networking resulted in developing and joint advocacy strategy and
community based interventions through local CBOs.

We also advocated with women’s rights groups and in particular women’s groups engaged
in calling for the repeal of discriminatory personal laws and Article 16 of the Constitution.
We are pleased to report that SOGI was included in the equality clause recommended by
the Sub Committee on Fundamental Rights (SCFR). However the issue of including socio
economic and cultural rights as justiciable rights in the new Constitution rather than as
“directive principles of state policy” was extremely contentious, in some quarters, despite
Sri Lanka’s post-independence history of public provisioning in health, education and social
welfare and the widespread public call for the guarantee of a range of socio-economic and
cultural rights in the new Constitution as represented in the PRC report. Equally contentious
was the repeal of Article 16 and existing discriminatory laws on consensual adult same sex
activity and personal laws. And WMC continued to mobilise support and make submissions
to the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly. In August WMC also initiated
and submitted a petition from Women’s groups to the Steering Committee of the
Constitutional Assembly calling for Constitutionally guaranteeing affirmative provisions in
the draft Constitution to increase women’s representation in politics. However engaging
with the Constitutional Assembly and its Steering Committee and Sub Committees
discussing Constitutional Reform proved to be elusive and difficult and far less inclusive than
the process followed by the Public Representations Committee. Nevertheless WMC was
invited with a few other experts by the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus to discuss possible
interventions in the debate on the report of the Steering Committee in Parliament in
October, and we were able to brief women members on our concerns and advocate for
support during the debate.

Transitional Justice Mechanisms

WMC also engaged with the Consultation Task force on Reconciliation Mechanisms
(CTFRM), discussed gender inclusive methodologies and content with it, participated in
trainings on consultation processes and had a member of the Collective participate in the
Western Province Zonal Task Force (ZTF) soliciting representations on human rights
violations. This enabled the facilitation of a focus group discussion on LGBTIQ rights and
reconciliation and the report of the CTFRM included a section on the concerns raised. The
CTFRM and the ZTF process resulted in more than 7000 submissions from across the island.
However despite the mandate given the CTFRM by the Prime Minister to carry out public
consultations on mechanisms to advance truth, justice, reparations and non-recurrence in
Sri Lanka the report of the Task Force was not officially received by either the President or
the Prime Minister. The consultations were to facilitate the establishment of a number of
institutions including an office on missing persons (OMP) which was legislated for during
the course of the CTF’s sittings. WMC together with other human rights organisations
expressed our deep concern at the lack of political will and leadership to operationalize the
critical and comprehensive recommendations of the CTF and continue to advocate for the
setting up of the OMP with adequate safeguards. WMC hopes to work with some of the
recommendations of the CTFRM in its continued interventions on reconciliation and peace-
building.

Increasing Women’s Representation in Politics – Quotas and Affirmative
Action
In 2016, advocacy by women’s groups with WMC playing a critical role in the process
resulted in the Local Authorities Elections ( Amendment ) Act of 2016 which for the first
time in Sri Lanka’s electoral history introduced a legally binding quota for women. The
quota was enabled through the introduction of a special list for women and by increasing
the number of seats in Local Authorities by 25%. Women were to be appointed
proportionately to the ballots received by political parties but were not mandatorily
expected to contest. While this provision was subject to criticism by women activist it was
constructively evaluated and welcomed as a first step towards compelling an increase in
women’s representation at Local Government.
However in 2017, women’s groups learnt that this amendment was subject to further
review and change and WMC launched a strategic process of mobilization, networking,
consultation and drafting to ensure that a mandatory provision enabling 25% representation
for women was maintained in the new amendments which introduced a mixed member
proportionate electoral system. Women were to be allocated nominations for 10% of the
newly introduced wards and would constitute 50% of those named on an additional persons
list. The Elections Commission was mandated to ensure that each Local Authority would
return a minimum of 25% women.

The securing of this quota was no easy task. Many political parties resisted the
requirements of the low 10% nominations, the 50% for women on the list and the 25%
mandatory fulfillment of seats for women. The new amendments also bafflingly exempt
some political parties from meeting the requisite 25% quota. Local Authority elections are
overdue and political parties must now ensure they get sufficient women onto their
nomination and additional persons lists. The intricacies of the new law are not well
understood by political parties much less their membership and much work remains to be
done to remedy this situation before the proposed LG elections of 2018. WMC has
continued its work of advocacy which successfully secured the quota with the assistance of
the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs,
the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus and the Elections Commission. We welcome this
historic women’s quota and will work with local women’s groups and political parties to
ensure that sufficient women are prepared to contest the forthcoming Local Government
elections. WMC also collaborated with a small group of women experts to prepare a
Strategy document for the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils, which
together with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, launched a campaign to operationalize the
women’s quota in November 2017.

Women and Media Collective (WMC) has used many strategies to increase women’s
representation particularly at the local level over the past 20 years. It has advocated for
affirmative action in the form of legally binding quotas for women’s nominations; called on
political parties to institute voluntary quotas; worked with local women’s CSOs and women
in political parties to train and prepare women for elections. It has worked with women
candidates across party lines to call for free and fair elections; violence free elections and
votes for women. It has also supported independent women’s lists when political parties
have failed to nominate women. It has also promoted accountable politics by working with
locally based Women’s CSOs to monitor the work of Local Authorities and advocate for
gender sensitive programming and gender budgeting. And engaged in voter education by
profiling women candidates and calling for votes for women using various media and other
interventions.

WMC works on increasing women’s political representation by engaging in a collective
analysis of the work and experience of promoting women’s inclusion all levels of
governance. WMC believes that reflection and analysis, written up in policy papers will help
focus advocacy directly with political parties on the issues of internal party democracy and
women’s exclusion from political structures. This experience of WMC is published in a
format that will be accessible to academics, researchers, policy makers and activists
interested and engaged in increasing women’s representation in politics in Sri Lanka. WMC
also tries to strengthen knowledge on international normative frameworks, especially
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 among selected women’s groups across its
networks so that they frame their work on specific gender sensitive normative principles.

Fund Raising

With the women’s quota a reality at Local Government, WMC expanded its work to both
operationalize the women’s quota as well as increase women’s representation at the next
levels of governance – at Provincial Councils and in Parliament though the submission of
two comprehensive proposals to UN Women and the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Both
efforts at fund raising were successful and we will work with partner organisations across
the country to consolidate women’s political representation in 2018 and beyond.

 Changing Minds: Strengthening Inclusive Governance and
Affirmative Action to Increase Women’s Representation in
Politics

WMC continued its work on increasing women’s representation in politics through a new
project with the financial assistance from the Royal Norwegian Embassy. This project
received funding towards the latter part of 2017 and will continue for three years.

Low representation of women has remained a factor of Sri Lankan politics (under 6% in
Parliament, under 4% in Provincial Councils and under 2% in Local Authorities) despite the
constitutional guarantee of equality, policy commitments, promises in electoral manifestos,
international treaty obligations, such as under the Convention for the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and commitments to other relevant UN
declarations and platforms for action.

This project will seek to deal with 3 key challenges. One component deals with the under
representation of women due to patriarchal and undemocratic praxis within political parties
which require affirmative action to redress historical discrimination and the need to build
public discourse in favour of women’s political representation. It will therefore address the
issue of advocating for quotas to increase women’s representation. A second component
deals with the issue of women’s political participation and perceptions of women’s capacity
to engage in politics, particularly legislative politics. It will therefore address the issue of
strengthening women’s engagement in the legislature by supporting women members
through the establishment of a pool of experts (Gender Equality Think Tank) who can advice
and provide evidence based research and information for gender sensitive policy
formulation, budgeting and the drafting of legislation in Parliament and Provincial Councils.
The third component of the project will seek to enhance the capacity of the increased
number of women representatives who will be elected to Local Authorities (an increase
from the current 2% to 25%) the majority of whom will be new to local government.

WMC is working with five CSOs based on their experience; work in the area of gender and
politics and geographical location to partner with in this project. WMC has also began
facilitating meetings on how to operationalize the women’s quota and discussing
comparative examples of how women’s quotas have worked. One such discussion was with
representatives of the Parliamentary Women’s Caucus and the Westminster Foundation for
Democracy which hosted a consultation with women Parliamentarians from the United
Kingdom.

Advocacy before the HRC/UN Treaty Bodies
CEDAW – Shadow Report and Review

WMC submitted two Shadow Reports to the CEDAW Committee for consideration at the Sri
Lanka review in January 2017. One report dealt with rights and discrimination against LBT
persons and the other was a consolidated report that responded to some of the concerns
and questions raised by the CEDAW Committee in its list of issues (CEDAW/C/LKA/Q/8). This
report was prepared by the Women and Media Collective in collaboration with civil society
organisations working at national and local level on women’s rights and human rights
concerns. Viluthu Centre for Human Resource, Suriya Women’s Development Centre,
Women’s Action Network, Muslim Women’s Research and Action Forum, Muslim Personal
Law Reforms Acton Group, Abhimani Women’s Collective, Stand Up Movement Lanka, Praja
Diriya Padanama, and the Women’s Resource Centre, Kurunegala were contributing
organisations. Kumudini Samuel from WMC attended the CEDAW review in Geneva with a
group of representatives from some of these organisations and facilitated the preparatory
process and the briefing with the CEDAW Task Force for Sri Lanka. Post the review she
made representations before the National Committee on Women, the Parliamentary
Women’s Caucus and the Sectoral Oversight Committee on the recommendations of the
CEDAW Committee and WMC also facilitated two consultations with Women’s organisations
on the Shadow Reports and the CEDAW Concluding Observations. In addition a
representative from WMC facilitated training for Parliamentary staff dealing with the
Women’s Caucus and the Sectoral Oversight Committee in Parliament on CEDAW and the
CEDAW Concluding Observations.
WMC also prepared a Shadow Report to CEDAW on Discrimination of Lesbians, Bisexual
Women and Transgender Persons in Sri Lanka (See work on the domain of Gender and
Sexuality below).

 CESCR Shadow Report

WMC contributed to the compiling of a joint Shadow Report to the CESCR on the “State of
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Sri Lanka, submitted in April 2017 facilitated by the
Law and Society Trust. A number of organisations and individuals made particularly
important contributions to this report and WMC contributed to the section on women’s
rights and LGBTQI concerns. LST and a group of representatives attended the Sri Lanka
review in June 2017, in Geneva and have been facilitating follow up work.

 Universal Periodic Review

WMC was among 94 Civil Society Organisations collaborating in the writing of a joint civil
society submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka at the United Nations. This
process was co-ordinated by LST thorough a consultative process and WMC contributed
submissions on women and provided a gender analysis.

 Legal Reform

In 2017 WMC engaged in discussions on legal reform, particularly the repeal or reform of
discriminatory legislation. We conducted discussions with various stakeholders on the need
to decriminalise termination of pregnancies and continued our advocacy on the
decriminalising of adult consensual same sex activity. We also supported ongoing work on
amending discriminatory provisions of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, repeal of the
Vagrants Ordinance and the reform of the Land Development Ordinance. WMC was also
consulted in a process that was initiated by the National Commission on Women to
strengthen the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. WMC was also part of discussions on
the proposed Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) together with Human Rights groups that were
opposing this new provision that sought to replace the draconian Prevention of Terrorism
Act which WMC has been calling for repeal since its inception.

 National Human Rights Action Plan

While WMC participated actively in the drafting of the National Human Rights Action Plan
2017-2021, we were dismayed that agreed provisions to decriminalise consensual same sex
activity among adults was deleted from the States human rights commitments. WMC
together with LGBTIQ and human rights groups has ben calling for the repeal of Section 365
and 365A of the Penal Code. It is also imperative that the State takes all measures to
prevent discrimination and harassment of all its citizens, including those who identify as
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ), instead of taking
legislative and policy actions to address systemic violence and discrimination dating from
the colonial era.

 DAWN

Kumudini Samuel facilitated a DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New
Era) writers workshop in Colombo in September to frame and conceptualise case studies on
the political economy of conflict and violence against women for a book project. The case
studies are based on conflict and violence in Sri Lanka, Papua New Guinea, North East India,
Sudan and South Sudan, Uganda, the MENA region and Colombia. As an Executive
Committee member of DAWN she also attended two DAWN Executive and Board meetings
in Peru and Taiwan. Kumudini Samuel also attended a Foreign and Commonwealth Office
facilitated consultation at Wilton Park in the UK on Women and Mediation: Promoting
Participation in Peace Making and Peace Building in December 2017.

Kumudini Samuel continued to be a co-Convener and member of the Knowledge Building
Working Group of the Asia Pacific Women’s Alliance for Peace and Security (APWAPS) and is
also a member of UN Women’s Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) for India, Sri Lanka,
Bhutan and the Maldives.

WMC staff members at the “Vote for Woman” campaign.

 ASIA PACIFIC WOMENS’ WATCH (APWW)

As a member of the Steering Committee of APWW Sepali Kottegoda was enlisted as the Asia
Pacific Regional Expert for the training of the Commission on the Status of Women in March
in New York. She was an invited speaker on the panel on ‘Workforce Participation – the
Future of Work and the Promotion of Flexibility to help Working Families’ organised by
economicS4W and Jera International. She was also an invited to speak on Women and Work
at a panel discussion organised by the All India Women’s Education Fund Association
(AIWFFA). She jointly chaired the Asia Pacific Caucus and the APWW Steering Committee
meeting during the CSW in New York. In September, she joined other APWW SC members at
a planning meeting in Bangkok where a strategic plan for the organisation was formulated.
 SOUTH ASIA WOMEN’S FUND (SAWF)

Sepali Kottegoda was re-elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Asia
Women’s Fund. SAWF is mandated to fund and support capacity building of small women’s
organisations and women’s organisations that work on issues in South Asia that mainstream
funders often overlook such as working with and on women informal sector workers, sexual
minorities. She was a panellist at the SAWF Regional Meeting held in Kathmandu, while
Viola Perera participated as the WMC representative working on the rights of women
migrant workers. Sepali also at the South East Asia Regional Consultation held in Bangkok
which was to acertain how SAWF when it would be transformed in to the Women’s Fund
Asia in 2018would work in South East Asia.
Gender, Work and Economic Rights
 Unpaid Care Work
In 2017, WMC brought in a new focus area, unpaid care work, to its portfolio. Explorations
into this issue was initiated in 2015 when WMC had met with and handed over a Policy Brief
to the then Deputy Minister of Economic Development to discuss possibilities of getting the
Department of Census and Statistics on board for looking at unpaid care work when
addressing women’s labour. The response of these institutions indicated to WMC that
collection, analysis of data and production of policy briefs were needed to build a strong
constituency for advocacy to bring about policy and social recognition of the economic and
social value of women’s unpaid care work. In 2016, WMC drew on feminist economists’
analysis of women’s labour and the deep impact unpaid care work has on women’s
gendered social identities and on women’s avenues for participation in the labour force. We
initiated a discussion with members of organisations that we network with to ascertain
broad understanding of the issue.

In 2017, Sepali Kottegodoa was invited to speak on Unpaid Care Work in Sri Lanka at the
Indian Women’s Studies Conference held in Chennai. This was a useful opportunity to also
learn from the work being done by Indian feminists on pushing the boundaries of
conventional economic approaches to women’s productive and reproductive labour.

Following this and at the invitation of Justice Equality Rights Access (JERA) International Ltd,
WMC applied for and was awarded the Australian Awards Fellowship entitled “My Time, My
Work, My Value: Valuing Unpaid Care Work, Sri Lanka”. The Fellowship was hosted by Jera
International in Melbourne, and enabled us to take a delegation of 14 women to Australia
for a 3 week study tour. The delegation comprised of women representatives from
Women’s Resource Centre, Kurunegala, Working Women’s Forum, Kandy, ACTFORM
Gampaha, ACTFORM Kandy, Women’s Development Centre Badulla, Suriya Women’s
Development Centre Batticaloa, Da Bindu Collective Ja-Ela and WMC Colombo. These
organisations work on a range of issues such as rural women, women workers in the Free
Trade Zones, women in the plantation sector, women living in post conflict areas, women
migrant workers and urban women. The Fellowship gave us the opportunity to engage in
discussions on unpaid care work in Sri Lanka and understand the landscape in Australia on
care and unpaid care work, facilities available in caring for dependents (the elderly, children,
people with disabilities), enumerating time spent on unpaid care work, understand the
concepts, practicalities and challenges in addressing the issue. Prof. Rhonda Sharp
conducted a training on Gender Responsive Budgeting at the University of Adelaide for the
Sri Lanka delegation. There were also meetings with Australian women’s organisations and
unions that focus on women’s work.
Visit to Apheda Australia Union Aboad, Visit to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,
Adelaide. Canberra.

Jera International organised a meeting with the Australian Bureau of Statistics where the Sri
Lanka delegation was given a presentation on how unpaid/ care work is enumerated in
Australia,

These meetings facilitated further discussions among the Sri Lanka delegation on measures
to identify ways and means through which advocacy for recognition, enumeration and
redistribution of unpaid care work in Sri Lanka.

The delegation was invited to speak at several events in Melbourne. The International
Alliance of Women and, Monash University were keen to listen to the experiences and
insights from Sri Lanka.

Conference organised by the International Sri Lanka delegation at Monash University,
Alliance of Women and Jera International, Melbourne.
Melbourne.
Sepali Kottegoda, WMC Sumika Perera, Women’s Anuradha Rajaratnam, Suriya
giving an overview of Resource Centre Women’s Development
Unpaid Care Work in Sri Kurunegala, speaking on Centre, Batticaloa speaking on
Lanka. Rural Women and Unpaid Unpaid Care Work in post
Care Work conflict areas.

The experience of the Fellowship motivated all members of the delegation to understand
better the issue of unpaid care work within their constituencies as well as to look further
into the types and standards of the care facilities, particularly for children and the elderly
that are provided for by the state. As a follow up, WMC developed a comprehensive action
research programme for understanding and advocating for the recognition, reduction and
redistribution of unpaid care work in Sri Lanka and looked at ways to obtain funding to carry
out this work.

At the conclusion of the visit to Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission Sepali
Kottegoda to be a speaker on Unpaid Care Work in Sri Lanka at its ‘Rights Talk’ event held at
the AHRC in Sydney.

 Gender Responsive Budgeting

In August 2017, WMC was requested to provide the Minister of Finance with proposals on
bringing in a gender focus in to the National Budget being prepared at the time. WMC
worked with several key feminists in the country to draft a Brief on Gender Responsive
Budgeting for the Finance Ministry. Dr. Sepali Kottegoda represented WMC, a
representative from the Women’s Resource Centre, Kurunegala and Prof. Maithree
Wickremesinghe, University of Kelaniya met with the Minister of Finance and members of
his team to speak on the Brief and of the importance of integrating a gender lens in national
budgets.

 Rights of Migrant Women Workers

WMC has worked on migrant rights issue for over two decades. In 2007, WMC
representatives were invited to join two drafting committees in the preparation of the first
national policy on labour migration by the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and
Welfare in collaboration with representatives of research institutes, NGOs, trade unions and
academics. The National Policy of Overseas Migration was adopted by the government in
2008. WMC carries out research on women migrant returnees who have been employed as
Domestic Workers and/or as Garment factory workers overseas. WMC also prepares a Sri
Lanka Shadow Report on the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All
Migrant Workers and Their Families which is submitted the UN Committee for the
Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families. WMC has been closely
involved with other civil society groups, with the ILO, the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment
Bureau and the Ministry of Overseas Employment on issues of women migrant workers, in
particular with the adverse impact of the government’s Family Background Report since it
was introduced in 2013. In addition, WMC is continuing to work closely with national and
international networks on protecting the rights of migrant workers in the Asia Pacific region.

WMC facilitated the setting up of ACTFORM (Action Network for Migrant Workers) in 1999
to focus on promoting the rights of Sri Lankan migrant workers. ACTFORM’s main purpose is
to serve as a link between civil society organizations, agencies, media groups and individuals
to raise awareness on the rights of migrant workers, paying special attention to the
gendered needs and complexities of migrant workers.

The network members of ACTFORM engage in a variety of activities which includes
collecting and disseminating information on migrant worker issues; monitoring the
implementation of relevant state policies; advocacy work on policy reform; providing of
counselling and outreach programs to migrant workers; collecting case histories and
livelihoods trajectories of migrant workers and their families; and providing legal assistance.
ACTFORM is a network member of the Migrant Forum in Asia, the Asian Migrant Centre, and
Migrant Rights International.

ACTFORM/WMC is represented at the national level in the National Labour Migration
Advisory Committee convened by the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and
Welfare. The the consistent feedback loop it has created between the state agency,
community organisations and migrant workers is viewed as particularly useful to the work of
SLFBE. ACTFORM/WMC monitors progress made by the government (SLBFE/ Ministry of
Foreign Employment) with regard to undertakings at the UN Committee on Migrant
Workers in 2016 session in consequent to the consideration of the State Periodic Report.
ACTFORM/WMC campaigns to advocate for laws and regulations that govern migration for
employment to be compatible with international laws on migrant workers. In order to
strengthen its monitoring role, ACTFORM/WMC mobilized and built the capacity of the
Migrant Network member organisations to document and report migration related issues.
 Strengthening institutions and networks to safeguard women migrant
workers
The South Asia Women’s Fund (SAWF) provided support to the Sri Lanka Action Network for
Migrant Workers (ACTFORM) through WMC to continue the project - “Strengthening
institutions and networks to safeguard the rights of women migrant workers” for the third
consecutive year. Its activities were identified as key interventions, targeting all
stakeholders – Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau and women migrant workers.

In the past two years, with SAWF’s support this project sought to create an independent
identity for ACTFORM which has been thus far well-received by both SLFBE and the network
of community organisations. The leadership of ACTFORM has taken great measures over the
past year to discuss the transition to an independent organization with its member network
spread across multiple districts in Sri Lanka. This consultation initiated by the ACTFORM
leadership has fostered a sense of ownership of the organization among the members.
During the evaluation, it was clear that removing ACTFORM from being within the Women
and Media Collective will enable this organization to raise its own profile, mobilise resources
and function at a high level of independence and autonomy.

With support from SAWF, ACTFORM focuses on Strengthening the capacity of Development
Officers to understand the gendered nature of migration and its experience, culminating in
developing a training module that would be employed by SLFBE to train and update its staff;
Holding the state accountable in its responsibility towards upholding the rights of women
migrant workers, by monitoring state actions (and inaction), as well as the implementation
of commitments undertaken by the government at the UN Committee on Migrant Workers;
Working towards policy changes leading to removal of barriers on Sri Lankan women to
migrate for employment, culminating in mobilization campaign to reverse the ban on
women migrants with children below 5 years of age.
Advocacy & Networking

 WMC Senior Program Manager and ACTFORM coordinator, Ms. Violet Perera
continued to represent the organization and provide guidance to the committees of
the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE), Ministry of Employment
Promotion and Welfare, Gender Committee of the Human Rights Commission and
Government Secretariat office of Narahenpita and Gampha

 She continued to participate on an advisory capacity and represented WMC & ACTFORM at
the Global Forum on Migration.
This project was designed and support received at a crucial time in ACTFORM’s work. With
SAWF’s support, ACTFORM was able to strengthen its network at the district level, and work
with them to advocate for policies and programmes for migrant workers. The work
executed in 2016-2017, also with SAWF’s support, was in many ways addressing gaps in
programmes offered by the SLFBE to train women migrant workers.
Gender and Sexuality
Over the past 25 years, the WMC has critically analyzed and examined issues relating to
women’s sexuality as it negotiated a space within patriarchy. As an organization working to
protect and promote the rights of all women, WMC examines cross cutting issues relating to
gender and sexuality within a non-heteronormative framework, thereby attempting to
widen the existing parameters of women’s groups to include sexuality rights as an issue that
needs to be dealt with by the women’s movement. WMC tries to ensure that knowledge
and awareness are improved on issues relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights
and gender identities within the women’s movement in Sri Lanka. WMC has produced a
Handbook for Counsellors to address Gender Based Violence issues faced by the LBT
Community. Counsellors are now being trained by key organizations that provide services
for women who face domestic violence. WMC also researched and published a study on the
use of social media by the LGBT community in Sri Lanka, the first of its kind in the country.

 EROTICS

The EROTICS South Asia project continued to the year 2017 with capacity enhancing
workshops on digital storytelling, advocacy and awareness building pertaining to
discriminatory laws and policies on the rights of the LGBT community and their use of the
internet along with the national stakeholder meeting on the publication of the research
study on the ways in which the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community
access the internet for freedom of expression, association, assembly and information.

The EROTICS project is an initiative of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
which is a global network of organisations that empowers organisations and individuals
through information and communication technologies (ICT’s) for meaningful participation in
social, political and environmental development. The APC is an active participant in high
level ICT policy discussions and is granted status to the United Nations Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC). The EROTICS South Asia network comprised of organisations Point of
View, Mumbai, Loom Nepal, and the Women and Media Collective, Sri Lanka. The overall
goal of the project was to enable sexual rights activists in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka to
engage politically with the internet as a public space and counter technology – related
violence against women and LGBTQ’s.

Capacity Enhancing

The digital storytelling workshop was held from the 6-9 of July 2017 at the Center for
Women’s Research (CENWOR) in Colombo. Through a careful selection process WMC
invited feminists, women’s rights and sexual rights activists along with representatives from
organizations working on the same issues. The workshop was limited to 15 participants.
Those attended the workshop came from areas such as Batticaloa, Kandy and Colombo
which is the East, Central and Western parts of Sri Lanka. It was paramount that translations
were available in all three languages.

Resource persons for the workshop were Jennifer Radloff and Valentina Pelizzer from APC,
and local resource persons were Manika van der Poorten and Buddhini Ekanayake. It was
carried out under the theme ‘Me, My Body, Rights in the Digital’. All participants were
expected to create a digital story using audio and visuals such as photographs and video.
The creation of digital stories were encouraged as it is has become a common method of
communication. Participants were not only able to tell their stories through this workshop
but were also able to learn the technical aspects of creating a digital story.
Research

The EROTICS research titled ‘Disrupting the Binary
Code: Experiences of LGBT Sri Lankans Online’
explores the relationship between internet rights and
sexuality in Sri Lanka. The study looks at the ways in
which the LGBT community accesses the internet
whether it is a means of communication or as site
activism. Given the fact that non-heterosexual and
non cis-persons who are identified as LGBT Sri
Lankans live in context where homosexuality is
criminalized the internet provides a key source of
communication for LGBT Sri Lankans. The study gives
an overview of the regulatory framework on ICTs in
the country and the ways in which social norms that
herald heterosexuality and stigmatise non-
heterosexual persons are navigated by LGBT Sri
Lankans through social media platforms.

The study is presented in two chapters. The first chapter, ‘Virtually queer; Human Rights of
LGBTQ Sri Lankans in the online space’ by P.M. Deshapriya and J.M. Mendis examines the
landscape of ICT policy and sexual rights in the country. It provides a broad overview of the
sociopolitical environment in which LGBTQ Sri Lankans live, the findings of the survey
questionnaire, focus group discussion and individual interviews.

The second chapter, ‘Not Traditionally Technical: Lesbian women in Sri Lanka and Their Use
of the Online Space’ by Shermal Wijewardena and Subha Wijesiriwardena is a dedicated
analysis of lesbian women’s engagement with the online. Through one-to-one interviews
and a focus group discussion, this section brings to light the gendered and sexualized
experiences of lesbian women’s online engagements.

This pioneering study is a critical means for advocacy on ways in which freedom of sexual
expression online can contribute to breaking taboos and amplifying the voices of sexual
minorities in Sri Lanka.

Advocacy / Networking

The second Sri Lanka Internet Governance Forum
was held in May 2017. For the first time there was
a Women’s IGF as a pre-event. Velayudan
Jayachithra and Sanchia Brown from WMC
together with other women’s rights activists
highlighted women’s issues pertaining to internet governance. It was a rare opportunity for
us as we were able to engage in a discussion with government actors responsible for the
creation and implementation of the ICT policies in the country. It was here that WMC was
able to raise their concerns on providing internet access to women and highlight the
importance of making it affordable for women. Further WMC also suggested that the Sri
Lanka ICT policy, which is currently being drafted, be inclusive and address the concerns of
women and other marginalised groups.

The Asia Pacific regional Internet Governance Forum in Bangkok was attended by
Velayudan Jayachithra and Sanchia Brown from
WMC. Sanchia was speaker on the ‘Panel –
Queering the Internet: Gender, Sexual
Expression and censorship’. On this panel the
research findings of the Sri Lanka study
Disrupting the Binary Code was presented. In
addition to this the feminist internet pop-up
event was held post IGF where the research
was further discussed among feminists and
women’s rights activists.

The Global Voices Summit was held in
December 2017 where the research
findings of the EROTICS study was once
again presented on the panel ‘Sex,
Rights and the Internet: A South Asian
Exploration’. The GV summit brought
together bloggers, activists and social
media experts from across the globe
(nearly 60 countries). It also had present relevant policy makers and government ministers
from Sri Lanka.

Communications

An EROTICS Facebook page was created to share relevant news and articles on ICT’s,
internet rights and sexuality. This is also linked to the WMC Facebook page and Twitter
accounts. A Twitter chat on making a #feministinternet was held with WMC on the ways in
which WMC carries out their work in terms of digital activism in Sri Lanka. The Twitter chat
brought in several feminists and activists to the conversation. The chat was a great way to
explore what a Feminist Internet looks like to all. The EROTICS blog also carries articles
pertaining to project activities.

Networking

EROTICS South Asia Regional Meeting was organized by the Women and Media Collective
together with the Association for Progressive Communications. It was held from the 4 – 7th
September 2017 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. The meeting was attended by activists from the
EROTICS South Asia Network (Point of View, LOOM, WMC) along with other activists
working on women’s and transgender persons rights and digital rights in the three countries
India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The objective of the meeting was to facilitate cross-movement alliances, where advocates
are able to share knowledge and expertise, and collaboratively respond to situations of
internet content regulation, censorship or threats to sexual rights activists; and to support
the development of strategies and actions that are responsive to the rapidly changing
context of internet regulation. WMC was able to present the EROTICS national research to
the participants while also partake in setting up a plan of action for the EROTICS South Asia
network.

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 Building New Constituencies for Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health
and Rights (SRHR)
Women and Media Collective (WMC) was engaged in a study on ethno-religious nationalism
and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in post-war Sri Lanka since 2014 -
2017 with the financial assistance from Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for
Women (ARROW).

This study specifically looked at the print media, social media and government policies that
were in place at the time. The systematic exploration made possible through this research
enabled us to go further from the initial findings of the study and look deeper into the
manifestation of online hate speech directed at women. This resulted in a video
documentary titled “Hating the Different: Online Offensives against "Others",” that captures
much of the discourse that followed from the study. This trilingual video documentary is
available on WMC website along with the policy briefs and the research reports.

WMC also developed a calendar for 2017 that takes a closer look at national policies that
reiterate the importance of empowering youth through comprehensive sexuality education
and life skills education. The finalised calendar for 2017 has 12 photographs by women
photographers and accompanied with quotes from national health, education, HIV/AIDS,
child protection and women’s empowerment related policies that emphasise on various
aspects of CSE. It touches on areas including the need to update curricular on CSE,
importance of in-school CSE, importance of out-of-school and tertiary/vocational and
university based CSE, CSE in the Free Trade Zones, plantation sector, migrant sector, service
providers of CSE, issues such as teenage pregnancies and HIV/STIs and the importance of
CSE, loss of potential including health and economic potential without adequate CSE, etc.

 Enhancing Domestic Violence Protections for LBT people in Sri Lanka

OutRight Action International and WMC Initiated a project aimed at increasing the safety of
lesbians, bisexual women, and trans people (LBT) in Sri Lanka. This project is expected to run
for two years from May 2016 to April 2018. This project seeks to protect and strengthen the
rights of LBT persons through the repeal or reform of discriminatory laws and policies, to
create awareness and positive attitudinal change on LBT issues using social media and
online platforms, and provide enhanced to support LBT persons who have faced domestic
and family violence through the development of a counseling module and carrying out a
training with service providers. Following are the main components of the project

 The Manual for Practicing Counsellors on Addressing Domestic Violence, Family
Violence and Intimate Partner Violence as Faced by Lesbian Women, Bisexual
Women and Transpersons in Sri Lanka – SINHALA and ENGLISH

Developing a manual for practicing counselor was the main initiative of this project. A
consultation with LBT Community was conducted to get
preliminary input prior to developing the counselors training
module on domestic DV/FV faced by the LBT community was
conducted. 19 persons from the LGBT community were
invited and 8 of the invitees attended the sessions. Further,
ten selected LBT friendly service providers were invited to
get their preliminary input prior to developing the
counselors training module.

The manual for practicing counselors was completed during
December 2017.
 Counselors Training

Working primarily together with the counseling organizations Women in Need (WIN) and
the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka (FPA) WMC brought together 18 practicing
counselors for this training. They were representative of the districts of Colombo (Western
Province), Matara (Southern Province) and Anuradhapura (North Central Province). Other
organizations such as Venasa, a trans network, and Shanthi Maargam also had
representatives
participating.

The trainings for the counsellors were held over two days on 7 and 14 October, as two full-
day trainings at CENWOR – Centre for Women’s Research.
The trainers were: Nivendra Uduman (counselling psychologist), Dr Thiloma Munasinghe
(public health specialist), Kushlani Munasinghe (psychologist), Dr Shermal Wijewardena
(lecturer in English and Gender Studies, academic) and Nehama Jayawardena (human rights
lawyer).

The following topics were explored during the training:
1. Understanding on context of LBT people in Sri Lanka
2. Understanding of violence faced by LBT people in Sri Lanka
3. Understanding of laws relating to LBT people in Sri Lanka
4. Understanding of techniques and strategies to provide counseling to LBT clients
5. Confidence in skills accumulated planning for, starting, sustaining and ending LBT client
work
6. Ability to counsel LBT clients about the topics covered at this training
7. Comfort level in providing services to LBT clients in relation to the topics covered at this
training
8. Understand the need and importance of self-care for you as a counselor
9. Understand how to cope with burn-out and other difficulties faced by counselors

 Training with Local Women’s Groups

On 18 November, WMC convened four local women’s groups from different parts of the
island: one group from Kandy (Central Province), one group from Puttalam and one from
Kurunegala (both in the North Western Province), and one group who works in the Free
Trade Zone north of Colombo (Western Province).

The groups were selected based on a history of working relationships with Women and
Media Collective, as well as their openness to working on sexuality-related issues. One of
the groups also provided counselling services (Women’s Development Centre, Kandy). The
groups represented a range of work: working with sex-workers and LGBT people, with
workers in the Free Trade Zones, and working as a drop-in centre/shelter for women
seeking support or help (typically in cases of domestic and family violence).

During this training, the trainers discussed the law in relation to LBT rights, undoing our own
prejudices (using the documentary ‘Our Stories’, produced by WMC and directed by Anoma
Rajakaruna as a tool, with discussion) and ending with a discussion on generating ideas from
the groups on how they could include LBT rights as a cross-cutting dimension in their own
work.

 International Advocacy

Development of a Shadow Report for CEDAW

In January 2017, WMC prepared a Shadow Report titled “Discrimination of Lesbians,
Bisexual Women and Transgender Persons in Sri Lanka” to the 66th Session of the
Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to be
held 13 February – 03 March 2017 Geneva, Switzerland. This report was prepared through a
consultative process with women and LBT organisations, including Venasa Transgender
Network. It was prepared by Kumudini Samuel with assistance from Shermal Wijewardene,
Subha Wijesiriwardene, Thenu Ranketh (Venasa Trans-network), Thiloma Munasinghe and
Evangeline de Silva, and Grace Poore from OutRight helped with its final editing. The report
highlighted some of the lived experience and research of LBT persons in Sri Lanka showing
the discrimination, violence, and marginalisation they face in multiple and intersecting ways.
It also noted some key recommendations to the Committee on issues ranging from equality
and non-discrimination, the state’s failure to document disadvantages, stereotypes and
harmful practices, gender-based violence and health of the LBT community.

Engagement with the CEDAW Committee

Kumudini Samuel and Chulani Kodikara from the Women and Media Collective were part of
the CSO advocacy team that attended the 66th sessions of the CEDAW Committee for the
review of Sri Lanka’s 8th periodic report at the UN in Geneva from the 18th to the 23rd of
February 2016. Kumudini and Chulani Kodikara (who led the Sri Lanka CSO delegation at the
last periodic review and knew the Sri Lanka Rapporteur), was also supported by OutRight.
The team worked together prior to departure to formulate a consolidated oral statement
and to prepare summary briefs for the Committee, in particular the Rapporteur of the Sri
Lanka task force and its members from the CEDAW Committee. They also discussed
advocacy strategy and decided how to schedule individual meetings with task
force/committee members as well as the lunch-time briefing.
Five members of the CSO team read an 8.5 minute oral statement before the CEDAW
Committee on the 20th of February. Kumudini Samuel read a section of the statement. The
committee raised a number of questions following the oral statement but did not have time
to hear replies and asked that responses be submitted in written form. No questions on
SOGI were raised. This statement has been attached. [Attachment vii. Sri Lanka Collective
Oral Statement to CEDAW Committee]

Kumudini moderated the lunchtime briefing with the CEDAW Committee and Sri Lanka CSOs
on the 21st of February. The briefing was very well attended and with 15 of the 22 CEDAW
committee members engaging in the dialogue with civil society. The team met the
Rapporteur of the Sri Lanka task force – Ms. Yoko Hayashi and the OHCHR member of the
Secretariat supporting the Sri Lanka review, Ms. Sulani Sarugaser in a private briefing on the
morning of the 21st February. They also met Ms. Bandana Rana the expert from Nepal.
They were however unable to meet Ms. Patricia Schulz who was busy with the review of
Germany, which was taking place on the 21st. She was also unable to attend the lunchtime
briefing as a result. She had indicated that she was not on the Sri Lanka task force and so
could not be expected to raise SOGI concerns at the constructive dialogue with the State.
However, she did so.

On the 22nd of February the CEDAW Committee engaged in a constructive dialogue with
the Sri Lankan state delegation on its 8th periodic report to CEDAW. The delegation read
form a prepared statement and was not prepared to engage in any dialogue.
Disappointingly none of its members except the Secretary to the Ministry of Women’s
Affairs was conversant with the work done by the Ministry. There was much prevarication
and re-reading of prepared text instead of a dialogue. The CEDAW committee expressed its
disappointment and frustration time and again at the non engagement and also repeated its
questions and asked for written responses when no oral responses were given. Particia
Schulz raised the questions on SOGI saying that discrimination on the ground of SOGI was
not prohibited and asked how this issue was being considered in the ongoing Constitution
reform process. She also asked if there was any intention to decriminalize same-sex
relations between consenting adults. The issue of intersectional discrimination was raised
by other members – on being reminded to answer the questions the State delegation said
that the Constitution was being drafted by seven sub committees and that the Sub
Committee on Fundamental Rights has proposed that discrimination of the ground of sexual
orientation be prohibited. Kumudini Samuel sent a note of clarification to the Committee
members raising questions on SOGI following this response.

 Social Media Interventions

A social media campaign was launched to increase awareness on domestic violence, family
violence and intimate partner violence as faced by LBT persons. The campaign followed a
two-phase approach. Phase 01 followed a close-circuit dissemination strategy, trying to
target LBT persons and their potential support systems specifically. This was not a public
campaign. Phase 02 of the campaign was public and made material freely available for
sharing on social media. A Facebook page titled Gender and Identity Resources for Women
was started for this. This was aimed at a more general audience on social media becoming
more aware of some of the nuances around issues faced by LBT persons and at trying to
change a normative discourse. All material was developed trilingually, in Sinhala, English and
Tamil.

Following are some of the Infographics which were developed as part of the social media
interventions.

Video Series on Domestic and Family Violence

For a better understanding of the types of domestic and
family violence that is prevalent among LBT persons,
WMC recorded personal stories of LGBT community
members and the views of activists on the subject
matter. 13 interview style videos were produced for
awareness raising on domestic and family violence
encountered by individuals in Sri Lanka. These videos
were digitized and posted onto the WMC Facebook,
Twitter and YouTube pages. The videos are also linked to
the WMC website. There was a relatively good response
to these video series on the platforms as thoughts were shared by some of the more
prominent members of the LGBT community and activists working on these issues. The
videos were published on the social media and YouTube pages of WMC.

 Social media workshop for LGBT activists

A social media workshop was held, primarily aimed at LGBT activists from around the
country, to train them around social media tools and aspects of digital security. Participants
came from Galle (Southern Province), Puttalam (North Western Province), Hatton (the
plantations), Jaffna (Northern Province), Colombo, and Anuradhapura (North Central
Province). The participants represented a range of LGBT activists; including LBT persons and
trans-sex workers.

Communications

Throughout the project period WMC undertook the role of identifying and disseminating news
and information pertaining to LBT rights particularly related to DV and IPV affecting the LBT
community. The focus was on events that transpired locally and internationally along with
highlighting internationally recognised cause awareness days. Platforms used for these social media
interventions were posted on WMC’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Each of the posts had a
wide reach, was positively received and had an engagement with WMC’s followers through likes, re-
tweets and comments. While this deemed to be the present strategy, WMC’s more focused strategy
for raising awareness on DV and IPV began with the feminist pride event and the designed social
media info-graphics which are components of the focused strategy.
Gender and Media

WMC acts as a proponent of positive portrayal and perspective of women in media. Through
its media campaigns and products WMC tries to raise public awareness on women’s issues
and deal with existing negative portrayals and attitudes towards women in the media. The
WMC media unit works on developing a feminist perspective on contemporary social,
economic, political and cultural issues with the aim of changing the situation of Sri Lankan
women in a positive and progressive manner. Some such activities include: video short film
competitions, women’s photography exhibition, feminist film festival, WMC annual
calendar, Rights related Radio clinics, monthly media statements on current issues,
magazine publications (EYA, SOL, OPTIONS), WMC blog, networking with women bloggers,
training and workshops for women bloggers and writers.
Website
Website

WMC’s website, under the web address ‘womenandmedia.org’, was re-designed this year with a
new look and interface. The website was designed for visitors to be able to conveniently navigate
through the content available. The main thematic areas are distinctively placed on the site while the
new domains, which were included according to the program activities, appear in a more meticulous
manner.

The thematic areas were outlined as Politics, Sexuality, Work, Media and New Media and the
programme activities are presented under categories such as capacity enhancing, campaigns,
publications, social media, video etc. which allows for content to be more clearly displayed on the
site. Through these domains the information on the site is more readily available thus website
visitors are able to browse through the content under the respective thematic areas and programme
activities with ease. Unfortunately due to the upgrading of the new site we are unable to provide
insights to the websites performance.

Social Media Sites / Online platforms

Social media sites and online platforms of WMC consist of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram
and Wordpress blogs. On average, WMC’s Facebook posts reached 360 people within a month in the
year 2017. In December 2016 the number of likes on Facebook was 2,555 which rose to 2,714 by
December 2017.

Some of WMC’s organic posts were well received by our followers. A notable campaign, which was
not led through a project but instead formulated within WMC’s capacity, were the posts created for
International Women’s Day in March 2017. This campaign also coincided with Women’s History
Month thus the posts, in the form of info-graphics, featured women of significance, both past and
present, to the country and to the women’s movement.

Other campaigns such as the info-graphics created as part of the OutRight project with messages
‘LGBTIQ issues are Feminist issues’ and ‘LGBTIQ rights should be at the forefront of our feminist
agenda’s’ reached nearly three thousand people. Posts published during and after the ‘Women for
Change’ walk in November such as the live posts and video’s had a reach of nearly two thousand
people. The video produced on migrant women to talk about ‘A Fathers Responsibility’ also reached
three thousand people. While the above mentioned posts had ‘reached’ many people on Facebook
the interview video’s created and published to draw attention to ‘Domestic and Family violence of
LGBT people’ had many people ‘engaging’ with the posts. Some of these posts had over 400 posts
clicks with nearly 70 likes and shares on a single post.

In November 2017 WMC also created the Facebook page ‘Gender and Sexuality Resources for
Women – Sri Lanka’. The page primarily carries info-graphics on seeking counselling for LBT women
in Sri Lanka. As this page was created towards the end of the year we are unable to provide a review
of the page and posts performance during the reporting period.
Posts from the website and Facebook pages are also shared onto the WMC Twitter
(@womenandmedia) pages. For December 2016 there were 1012 followers on Twitter and by
December 2017 the number of followers grew to 1,424.
In memoriam

Sunila Abeysekera

This year, the memory of Sunila was
remembered in Colombo and it was a
special one, in every sense of the word.
On the 24th of October, 2017, leaders
of the global feminist movement, came
together to talk about the life and work
of Sunila Abeysekera.

WMC together with the Urgent Action
Fund organized the commemoration
program titled ‘the personal is the political’; an expression of Sunila’s dynamic personality.

A panel discussion with Charlotte Bunch (USA), Nighat Said Khan (Pakistan), Kamla Bhasin
(India), Salara Emmanuel (Sri Lanka) and Sepali Kottegoda (Sri Lanka) which was moderated
by Kumudini Samuel (Sri Lanka) and Roshmi Goswami (India) was central to the
commemoration. A parallel event was organised at WMC which was largely attended by her
colleagues from the women’s movement.
Lala Rukh
A collective for Feminist Conversations hosted a Memorial for Lala Rukh at Women and
Media Collective on August 23, 2017.

Lala was a Pakistani feminist artist, teacher and artist and had a long legacy of close and rich
relationships with many feminist movements across South Asia, including Sri Lanka.
She died during July of 2017 and was commemorated across Pakistan and other parts of
South Asia, remembered for her many contributions.
Upcoming projects

 Strengthening the participation and engagement of women in governance and
peacebuilding processes in Sri Lanka

WMC will implement a project on “Strengthening the participation and engagement
of women in governance and peacebuilding processes in Sri Lanka with the financial
support of UN Women from 2018-2019. This project will be implement with Suriya
Development Centre in Batticaloa and Women’s Resource Centre in Kurunegala.
Following are the main outputs of the project.

 Increased capacity among select women political candidates and local leaders
(women and men) to promote engagement of women in governance and
peacebuilding processes.

 Increased capacity of national and sub-national institutions, including political
parties, to ensure policies, plans, and budgets are gender-responsive.

 Women leaders promote increased civic engagement on issues related to
governance, reconciliation and peacebuilding.

 Conducting a Survey and Training Programs on TIP data collection and reporting
systems in Sri Lanka

The Asia Foundation has invited WMC to partner with their project on “Building an
Effective Trafficking-in-Persons Data and Information Collection and Reporting
System in Sri Lanka”. The goal of the program is to build an effective trafficking-in-
persons (TIP) data collection and reporting system in Sri Lanka. TAF and its partners
will contribute to this goal through the achievement of three objectives to:1) assess
and develop or enhance an effective and efficient multi-sectoral TIP data collection
and reporting system; 2) build the capacity of key stakeholders on the new or
enhanced TIP data collection and reporting system; and 3) support dissemination of
information from the new or enhanced data collection and reporting system to
relevant stakeholders. The project will feed into ongoing work of the National Anti-
Human Trafficking Task Force (NAHTTF) under the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) of the
Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).
This project will be implemented for 18 months beginning from 2018.
 Building feminist perspective and understanding around movement, mobility and
labour

This project has three components, one targeting SLBFE trainers and the other
targeting Development Officers who are involved in female migration processes with
the objective of building feminist perspective and understanding around labour
movement. The third component is an extension of present activities which
ACTFORM had begun in 2016 with SWAF funding.

 Recognizing, Reducing and Redistribution of Unpaid Care Work in Sri
Lanka.

The proposed study would contribute to a policy focus on the contribution of women’s
unpaid care work in the national development agenda. Informed policy would facilitate
discussion on expanding labour force definitions and enhancing care facilities for elders,
persons with disabilities and young children.